John Lewis Partnership design consultant Douglas Cooper is to retire from the position at the beginning of June to start up a design management and retail design consultancy.
Cooper joined the company in 1979 as design co-ordinator, becoming head of design in 1997 and design consultant two years later. He will continue to act as a consultant for Waitrose, which is part of the partnership, and may also help in other areas of the group.
No replacement has been made and it is unknown whether a direct replacement will be put in place, says a John Lewis Partnership spokeswoman.
‘No one really knows what is happening. His role is pretty unique,’ she says.
Cooper says, ‘I have been there for 23 years and I am going early in order to begin the last part of my career. I will retain elements of the Waitrose work, mainly packaging design, but will also see through the implementation of the new [Waitrose] corporate logo in the autumn.’
Waitrose is to launch a revamped identity and redesigned interior signage, created by Interbrand and JHP (DW 4 April).
Cooper says his consultancy, which will begin as a solo operation, will work with clients both in the UK and abroad. ‘I would like to develop more [overseas] work so as not to clash with the work I am doing for Waitrose,’ he says.
The consultancy, which has yet to be named, will operate from Bath, where Cooper lives.