Former Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman has been appointed chairman of Graduate Fashion Week, following Terry Mansfield’s decision to step down after seven years.

Templeman, who left Debenhams earlier this month after eight years running the retailer, will start the role on November 17.

Mansfield said he is stepping down to focus more heavily on his consultancy work for media company Hearst Corporation.

Graduate Fashion Week, which is sponsored by George at Asda and takes place every June, showcases the work of graduates from 65 courses at 46 universities.

Jeff Banks CBE, Graduate Fashion Week founder and president, said: “The trustees and I would like to extend a huge thank you to Terry for his unwavering dedication and enthusiasm during the seven years he has spent as the chairman of Graduate Fashion Week. He has done a fantastic job ensuring the on-going success of the event. Having done the job myself for the prior 12 years, I know how demanding it is and we are extremely grateful to Terry for giving his time and leading the event into a new era. We wish him every success for the future.”

He added: “I am personally delighted that Rob Templeman has agreed to take up the mantle of chairman.  He will be working closely with myself and the GFW trustees to drive the event forward into its 21st year in 2012 and beyond.  Rob is well known within the fashion industry and I am sure he will be able to encourage more of his industry colleagues to support GFW in a variety of ways.”

Terry Mansfield CBE said:  “It has been a privilege to be the chairman of Graduate Fashion Week for the past 7 years.  It really has been the most incredible journey and I have had the opportunity to work with the very best new talent, the best UK Universities and fashion educationalists – the people who shape tomorrow’s world!”