John Lewis comms chief Peter Cross moves into broader customer experience role

John Lewis' most senior PR practitioner has been given a new role overseeing customer experience at the Christmas-loving department store.

Cross joined John Lewis in 2013 in the role of director of comms. He arrived from a senior role at Mary Portas' retail agency Portas, having worked for L'Oréal, Burberry and luxury brand Dunhill before that.

He officially became director of customer experience at the retailer last week, taking charge of areas including the customer journey, visual merchandising and sustainability - as well as retaining his role leading comms. He reports to customer director Craig Inglis with respect to his new duties.

Cross said of the linkage between these and his comms experience: "I think the comms industry is going through significant change and that the skills communicators have built in understanding how you tell a story and what makes customers tick, stands us in good stead as the broader marketing industry changes."

Gillian Taylor, previously head of external comms at the retailer, becomes head of comms - taking on internal communications duties for the first time. She joined the firm from Sainsbury's in February 2016.

The news follows soon after the appointment of a new MD at John Lewis - Paula Nickolds joined the company as a graduate trainee and is its first female boss. However, Cross said there was no specific link between his promotion and that of Nickolds.

Cross is credited with transforming John Lewis' approach and helping reposition it as a barometer for Britain’s shopping habits. Click to read his profile in the PRWeek UK Power Book 2017.

Peter Cross is among the speakers at this month's PR360 Conference, which this year has the theme 'making creativity count'.

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