Debenhams boss Sergio Bucher is stepping down, just days after lenders took control of the embattled business.
Bucher will exit the retailer this week to “allow new leadership to carry through the restructuring and turnaround of the business”, Debenhams said.
The department store chain’s chair, Terry Duddy, will assume a more hands-on role as interim executive chair. A search for Bucher’s long-term successor is underway.
Bucher’s exit comes a week after Debenhams’ new owners, understood to comprise banks such as Barclays and Bank of Ireland, as well as hedge funds including Alcentra and Silver Point, drafted in a chief restructuring officer.
As first reported by Sky News, Alvarez & Marsal’s managing director Stefaan Vansteenkiste has been brought in to take on the role.
Bucher joined Debenhams from Amazon in 2016 and quickly set about drawing up his ‘Debenhams Redesigned’ strategy.
The blueprint focused on ‘social shopping’ and making Debenhams’ stores more experiential places to shop.
Bucher said: “Now that our new financing facilities are in place, it is time to move on, knowing the company is in good hands with a plan that will deliver a sustainable future.
“I would like to wholeheartedly thank all of my colleagues for their efforts and dedication during such a turbulent time, as well as our suppliers, partners and, of course, customers for their continued support.”
Duddy added: “Debenhams now has a clear path towards a viable and sustainable future, and we have Sergio and his team to thank for that. With a positive, professional approach, he has acted at all times in the company’s best interests and we wish him all the best for the future.”