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Chairman of John Lewis awarded honorary degree by Loughborough

Sir Charlie Mayfield with Dr Cathy Hart (far right), Dr Belinda Dewsnap (far left) and students from the School of Business and Economics.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, has received an honorary degree from Loughborough University for his ‘outstanding strategic leadership of the John Lewis Partnership’.

He was presented with the award of Honorary Doctor of the University (Hon DUniv) on Wednesday 17 July.

At the degree ceremony, the Dean of the School of Business and Economics, Angus Laing, highlighted Sir Charlie Mayfield’s successful leadership of the John Lewis Partnership.

“Through his successful leadership of the John Lewis partnership at a time of economic crisis, not only has Charlie Mayfield contributed to the ongoing success of the British retail sector, but more significantly he has demonstrated that employee ownership is not simply virtuous, but is a model that can deliver outstanding business performance. That is an achievement worthy of our highest accolade,” Professor Laing said.

In accepting the honorary award, Sir Charlie acknowledged the contribution of all the Partners in the John Lewis organisation.

He commented: “I feel particularly fortunate to be receiving this award because, as you have just heard, the organisation I lead is different to many in that it is owned by all 84,000 Partners, as we call them, who work in both John Lewis and Waitrose. And it is my great privilege to lead an organisation where we have so many thousands of committed people who work hard every day to achieve what we do.”

During his visit to Loughborough, Sir Charlie was also able to meet some of the students on the University’s BSc Retailing, Marketing and Management course.

Cathy Hart, Director of Professional Placements and Head of the Town Centre Research Interest Group at the School, said the School of Business and Economics was honoured to welcome Sir Charlie.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for our students to share their experiences of their degree course studies and placement achievements with Sir Charlie. Afterwards he led a question and answer session in which he shared his own perspectives on the fast-evolving and challenging world of retail and the exciting opportunities this now opens up to graduates.”

Sir Charlie Mayfield is the Government-appointed Chair of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, President of the Employee Ownership Association and a Director of Central Surrey Health Trustee Limited.

He joined the John Lewis Partnership in 2000 as Head of Business Development and was appointed as Chairman in March 2007.

Sir Charlie was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June this year for services to business.