Jane Norman managing director Ian Findlay is understood to have stepped down from the beleaguered women’s young fashion chain.

Findlay, who was appointed to the role following the retirement of chief executive of 16 years Saj Shah in February, is believed to have left in the days following news that Jane Norman had appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to explore a sale of the business.

According to sources, the business is on the market as part of an accelerated sale process but it is understood that PwC could explore an administration if no buyer is found.

Debenhams has been linked to the potential sale. However, Debenhams is unlikely to be interested in Jane Norman’s 90 UK and ROI standalone stores and could acquire the business’s brand and assets to continue running it as a concession in its department stores, in much the same way it did when it acquired footwear business Faith out of administration. Debenhams has a change of ownership clause with the chain which would allow it to terminate the profitable concession agreement if Jane Norman was bought by a third party.

In April Findlay told Drapers that he had begun an overhaul of Jane Norman to attract a younger, trend-savvy shopper.

In the year to March 27, 2010, profits stabilised at Jane Norman with EBITDA at £15.3m. It followed a halving of EBITDA to £15.8m the previous year.

Jane Norman has 200 shops and concessions in the UK, the Middle East and Europe.