NEWS7 June 2019

Sharon White exits Ofcom for John Lewis chair

Media News People Public Sector UK

UK – Ofcom has announced that its chief executive, Sharon White, is leaving the regulator to take up the role of chairman of The John Lewis Partnership (JLP).


White (pictured) is expected to leave Ofcom at the end of the year. The Ofcom Board is now beginning the process of appointing a successor.

She joined Ofcom in March 2015 from HM Treasury where she was second permanent secretary. Trained as an economist, White has also worked at the World Bank, the British embassy in Washington and in Tony Blair’s policy unit when he was prime minister.

She had been muted as a contender to take over the governor of the Bank of England role.

Lord Burns, Ofcom chairman, said: “Sharon has been an outstanding chief executive and will be missed by the whole organisation. Under Sharon’s leadership, Ofcom has helped to deliver ultrafast broadband, widespread 4G mobile and now 5G, and became the first independent regulator of the BBC.”

She takes over from Sir Charlie Mayfield at JLP who described her as “an inspirational leader” although acknowledging she wasn’t “the conventional retail choice”. But Mayfield added that JLP was not a conventional company – it is owned by its staff, who are all partners in the business and everyone receives the same percentage bonus each year.

White chose the title of chairman and will be paid a basic salary of £990,000.

She said: “I am a passionate believer in the partnership: partners working together for each other’s wellbeing, with the confidence to invest for the long-term and a focus on delivering for our customers in a rapidly changing retail environment.”