The John Lewis Partnership, operator of John Lewis and Waitrose stores in the U.K., has named company veteran Andrew Murphy as its next Chief Information Officer effective Feb. 1, according to a company press release.
Murphy will replace Paul Coby who will leave the partnership at the end of April 2018 after almost seven years. The partnership credited Coby as "the architect of the IT strategy for John Lewis, which helped to transform the business into a leading omnichannel retailer," the company said.
Murphy, who has been with the company since 1992, currently is group productivity director for John Lewis, which runs 49 John Lewis stores and 352 Waitrose shops.
It’s safe to say that John Lewis, like retailers across the world, is working through new challenges and opportunities that will influence its technology capabilities. And there's a lot of room for growth after the new year — particularly in partnerships. As Amazon expands in the U.K., John Lewis could be one example of a potential partner, according to London-based Natalie Berg, Planet Retail RNG director of retail insights.
"2018 will be the year that more British retailers cozy up to Amazon, particularly if it helps to drive traffic to stores or improve the customer experience," she told Retail Dive. "The dual role of competitor and service provider is truly unique to Amazon."
For those reasons and others, 2017 has been a year of changes in the CIO and CTO ranks. Just this week, CVS announced CIO Stephen Gold was leaving the company. Last month, REI hired Christine Putur as its new CIO to replace Julie Averill, who left that retailer earlier in the year to become CTO of Lululemon. And others, like Meijer, have restructured their entire IT departments.
No reason was given for Coby’s departure from the John Lewis Partnership, but he appears to have been something of a start in his capacity as CIO for the partnership. Retail Info Systems reported that he launched a technology incubator, JLab, for the partnership that resulted in, among other projects, a location-driven tool recognizing individual customers and their shopping intentions while in-store.
That said, Murphy headed the massive change program that the partnership undertook last year to craft a strategy for more agile operations. Coby is leaving some large shoes to fill, but a very intriguing time for brick-and-mortar retailers and their technology strategies.