* Andy Street chosen as Conservative Party candidate
* Will step down as John Lewis MD on Oct 28
* Firm will name successor "in due course"
(Adds statement from John Lewis)
LONDON, Sept 30 British department store chain
John Lewis will have to appoint a new leader
after Managing Director Andy Street was chosen by the ruling
Conservative Party as its candidate for mayor of the West
Midlands in central England.
Street, who has been with John Lewis for 31 years, nine as
MD, was formally selected by local Conservative members on
Thursday, the party said in a statement.
The employee-owned John Lewis Partnership, which also owns
upmarket supermarket Waitrose, said he would step down from his
role on Oct. 28 to fight the mayoral election which will be held
in May next year.
It said Street's successor will be announced "in due
Analysts say frontrunners to succeed Street are his former
lieutenant Andrew Murphy, who is now the partnership's
productivity director, current retail director Mark Lewis and
commercial director Paula Nickolds.
"Andy has led John Lewis brilliantly and leaves the brand
with great momentum for the future," said the Partnership's
chairman Charlie Mayfield.
Earlier this month the department stores business reported a
31 percent fall in first-half operating profit despite a 4.5
percent rise in sales. The profit fall reflected increased
investment, higher staff costs and lower prices.
However, the firm said it was confident it would outperform
the market in the second half when the majority of its sales and
profit are delivered.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Paul