Donovan left Granada in early 2004 ahead of its merger with Carlton to form ITV plc.
Until the end of last year she was interim comms director at United Business Media. She has been replaced there by Peter Bancroft,
who was previously V-P of marketing communications at Symbian.
Although John Lewis is a partnership, co-owned by its employees as 'partners', business commentators see the firm as a barometer for the UK retail sector.
The group, which has just marked its 75th anniversary, comprises 27 John Lewis department stores and 173 Waitrose supermarkets, making it one of the UK's largest retail businesses.
John Lewis's figures for the Christmas trading period have as usual attracted much scrutiny. The company's trading statement for the 28 days up to and including 24 December showed sales were up 11.7 per cent on the same period in 2004.
Donovan will oversee the retailer's relationship with retained financial agency Hogarth and several other agencies handling PR for different aspects of the business, including Waitrose.