John Lewis steals Wright from broadcasting group

John Lewis Partnership, a firm whose fortunes are often regarded as a barometer of the health of retail sales in the UK, has taken on Charlotte Wright as its top lobbyist.

She joins on 12 June in the newly created role of head of public affairs, reporting to director of comms Susan Donovan. Wright will oversee PA strategy across the 27 John Lewis stores and 174 Waitrose supermarkets.

Wright is currently executive director of the Satellite and Cable Broadcasters Group, whose 20 or so members include MTV and CNBC Europe. Prior to that, she was director of policy and comms at the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television and head of press and PA at Nickleodeon.

She began her 13-year career in public affairs as policy officer for pressure group Liberty.

Donovan said that Wright would hold a ‘broad, strategic public affairs remit’ with the partnership. Donovan, who joined in January, also has a media industry background as comms chief at Granada before the firm’s merger with Carlton in 2004 to form ITV plc.

John Lewis retains Cavendish Communications for external PA support.

The retailer reported its highest weekly sales increase at 16.8 per cent for the week ending 6 May, spurred by a surge in demand for wide-screen TVs ahead of next month’s World Cup.

But chairman Sir Stuart Hampson has been a vocal critic of central London’s congestion charge, which has been blamed for damaging sales at its flagship Oxford Street store.

John Lewis was also a strong opponent of Sunday trading, ushered in by John Major’s Tory government in 1994. However, it is now thought to support proposals to extend the current six-hour Sunday opening limit.
The firm suffered a setback last week when a High Court judge overturned planning approval for a £200m development in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, which would have included a John Lewis superstore.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in