John Lewis boss named UK's ‘most admired’ leader

Tuesday, 02 December 2014

John Lewis managing director Andy Street, who has been at the helm of the department store for the past seven years, has been named as the ‘most admired’ leader in the UK.

Street was awarded the Most Admired Leader Award at Management Today magazine’s annual Britain’s Most Admired Companies Awards, after gaining more than 10 percent of the vote which surveyed bosses at the UK’s most successful companies.

The survey, in conjunction with Birmingham City Business School, asked the UK’s largest public companies in 24 sectors to evaluate their peers, and they placed Street ahead of Next’s Simon Wolfson and WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell. Street takes the crown from Sainsbury’s boss Justin King, last year’s winner of the accolade.

Street told Management Today that his success as the ‘most admired’ leader comes from his desire to prove that John Lewis’ business model is “not different but superior” as well as the accessibility of John Lewis. “We have anticipated the changes in our customers’ behaviour – their tastes and practices – and we’ve acted and stayed ahead of the curve.”

John Lewis boss Andy Street named as the UK's ‘most admired’ leader

However, the John Lewis Partnership could only manage fifth spot in Britain’s top 10 ‘most admired’ companies in the same report, behind winner’s Johnson Matthey, Next, Easyjet and Paddy Power. The retail group did go onto win the ‘free vote’ at the magazine’s annual awards, which allows respondents to be unrestricted by sector and to name the company they most admire. John Lewis Partnership took almost 25 percent of the vote, out of 236 companies, beating Rolls-Royce, Unilver and Dyson.

“John Lewis is the post-crash darling of the UK high street,” Matthew Gwyther, Management Today editor, told the Daily Telegraph. “It is on a real roll at the moment. In a dog-eat-dog retail world of horse meat scandals, zero hours contracts, suppliers waiting 100 days to get paid and empty high streets, JLP is the act people admire and wish to emulate.”

Fashion and homeware retailer Next was ranked the ‘most admired’ company in the Retail -Broadline/Home sector and its second place in the overall BMAC list was it highest-ever placing, climbing 20 places from its 2013 position of 32.

Other fashion retailers listed in the Retail -Broadline/Home sector included Marks and Spencer, ranked fourth, while department store Debenhams was listed in tenth place.

Image: John Lewis - Andy Street

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