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Former River Island chief Will Kernan joins John Lewis board

Lauretta Roberts
05 September 2023

Former River Island CEO Will Kernan is to join the board of the John Lewis Partnership next week taking up the spot vacated by Nish Kankiwala, who became the retail partnership's first CEO in March of this year.

Kernan had been CEO of fashion chain River Island from September 2019 to April 2023 when he left to a pursue a portfolio career. He has since taken up the position of chairman at high-end furniture brand Neptune and was already chair at biscuit gift maker Biscuiteers. He will officially join the John Lewis Partnership board on 12 September.

A seasoned retail executive, prior to River Island, Kernan had been CEO of bike retail Wiggle and before that CEO at The White Company. He also spent 13 years at New Look rising to the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said of the appointment: "I’m delighted to welcome Will as the newest member of our Partnership Board. We’re fortunate to have his extensive experience and expertise, which will play a significant role in our ongoing transformation. As well as his outstanding retail experience Will brings real interest and support for the Partnership model.”

Kernan joins the Partnership Board’s independent Non-Executive Directors, Rita Clifton CBE, who serves as Deputy Chairman, and Nicky Dulieu who is also Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.

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