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Struggling Debenhams hunts successor to CEO Vansteenkiste | Business News

Debenhams has said it is closing 19 of its stores

The boss of Debenhams is getting ready to go away the embattled division retailer chain after lower than a 12 months within the job as its house owners hunt for a seasoned retail government take the helm.

Sky Information has learnt that Stefaan Vansteenkiste is to step down inside months, after taking up as chief government solely final August.

Spencer Stuart, the headhunter, is known to have been appointed to deal with the search.

Mr Vansteenkiste had all the time been envisaged to be a short lived appointment by Debenhams’ new house owners because the enterprise completes its monetary restructuring.

On Wednesday, the chain introduced that the interval throughout which its Firm Voluntary Association (CVA) with collectors may very well be challenged had expired.

That milestone signifies that Debenhams can now proceed with a £100m debt-for-equity swap, even because it pursues additional lease and enterprise charges cuts with landlords and native authorities.

Mr Vansteenkiste stated on Wednesday that the conclusion of the CVA problem interval was “nice information for Debenhams”.

Stefaan Vansteenkiste became CEO of Debenhams in August last year. Pic; Debenhams
Picture:
Stefaan Vansteenkiste turned CEO of Debenhams in August final 12 months. Pic: Debenhams

“We will put the distraction of this litigation behind us and proceed with our plans to show the enterprise round.

“With dedicated traders, a strengthened board and a restructured stability sheet we’ve got the platform from which to rebuild a sustainable enterprise.”

Debenhams’ shareholders – that are largely American hedge funds – are understood to be in search of a seasoned retail government to attempt to restore the chain to gross sales development after a torrid interval.

One insider stated they wished to make sure a brand new boss was in place in time for peak buying and selling within the run-up to Christmas, which means Mr Vansteenkiste is predicted to go away by the tip of the summer season.

Nonetheless, the unsure affect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the economic system might hamper Debenhams’ buying and selling plans all through the course of the 12 months.

The corporate has stated that it desires to close a complete of 50 retailers, leaving round 100 as its core property.

Simply over 20 have closed already, leaving 28 extra areas to be recognized.

Debenhams’ holding firm was pressured into administration within the spring of final 12 months, and since rising from insolvency proceedings has endured an anxious wait to complete implementing a turnaround plan that entails slashing hundreds of jobs.

Mr Vansteenkiste turned CEO after a interval because the chain’s chief restructuring officer.

He successfully changed Terry Duddy, the previous Argos chief, who had been standing in as government chairman.

The previous chairman, Sir Ian Cheshire, was voted off the board by Mike Ashley, whose Sports activities Direct Worldwide (now Frasers Group) made a string of makes an attempt final 12 months to realize management of Debenhams.

The earlier chief government, Sergio Bucher, after it fell into administration.

Debenhams declined to touch upon its seek for a brand new boss.

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