Nigel Keen

Nigel was born in 1961 in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria and attended the local grammar school before leaving to play football for Manchester United at the age of 16 where he stayed for three years before moving to other clubs within the North West region and finishing a part time degree in Quantity Surveying.


Finishing his career as a professional footballer at Preston North End, he moved south to work as a quantity surveyor at John Evers & Partners whilst maintaining a semi-professional football career at Enfield where he played for the next seven seasons. Nigel continued his training as a quantity surveyor at John Evers & Partners and then the Selway Joyce Partnership. Nigel moved to Tesco in 1989 as a quantity surveyor before being promoted to the role of Construction Director responsible for the delivery of Tesco’s new space growth programme.


In 1999 Nigel joined the John Lewis Partnership as Director of Building, and is now Property Services Director responsible for delivery of the John Lewis Partnership development programme for both Waitrose and John Lewis department stores. Nigel also has responsibility for the Waitrose property portfolio and its management, giving him overall responsibility for formulating the development strategy for Waitrose and its subsequent design and delivery.


Nigel has led many change programmes for the Partnership which have transformed the design, construction, engineering and maintenance processes and has, as a consequence, not only enabled both John Lewis and Waitrose to enter a period of expansion but has done so whilst reducing both capital and revenue costs. Nigel has led a rapid period of growth for the business which has included the addition of six John Lewis department stores, five John Lewis at home stores and more than 120 Waitrose shops, including its first supermarkets in the Channel Islands and the development of the ‘little Waitrose’ convenience store concept. This expansion has been supported by the opening of two Waitrose distribution centres in Bardon and Aylesford with a third set to open in Chorley, Lancashire, in 2013.


Waitrose is currently one of the fastest growing supermarkets in the UK and undergoing its biggest ever programme of expansion with more than 70 shops opening in the last three years and 20 new openings achieved by the end of 2012.


Nigel has also overseen new initiatives which have made significant strides in reducing the company’s environmental impact. In 2007 it introduced the retail sector leading Sustainable Construction Framework, which sets out clear guidelines for new building projects and the supermarket’s Stratford City store has recently become the world’s first retail building to be awarded a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating. Nigel has now built on this success and created a Carbon Plan for the Partnership which has seen the adoption of many market leading innovations all aimed at reducing the Partnership’s overall carbon footprint.


New innovations too have reinforced the Partnership’s ethos on corporate social responsibility. In 2008 Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to introduce Anaerobic Digestion and the first supermarket to use tomatoes to power a store.


Nigel is a Board member at the University of Greenwich Architecture and Construction Board. He is also a member of the Government’s Green Economy Council and has been a member of Boris Johnson’s Outer London Commission.


Married with two children, Nigel lives in Surrey.