Fresh from setting out Debenhams’ bold new strategy, boss Sergio Bucher has hired two “change-makers” as he puts it, to help drive the retailer’s transformation.

And Bucher has recruited well, with the hugely experienced and well-respected Sally Hyndman joining as HR director and the highly rated Angela Morrison taking up the role of technology and supply chain director.

Bucher’s new five-year plan to rejuvenate Debenhams aligns well with the skillsets of his new hires.

He plans to transform Debenhams’ multichannel capabilities through greater use of digital media and a focus on mobile.

Morrison, with her experience of heading up IT at Sainsbury’s coupled with a recent spell as chief information officer of Direct Line Group, is well qualified to deliver on that ambition.

New culture

Morrison is enthusiastic about a return to retail after her time in insurance and will surely relish the chance to put her own stamp on the transformation of Debenhams under Bucher.

Bucher is also looking to achieve a cultural shift by empowering employees to think creatively with the aim of constructing a dynamic business that is prepared to innovate and take risks.

“Hyndman was an influential figure in her last role as group HR director at Dixons Carphone”

Hyndman is the ideal candidate to shape this agenda.

She was an influential figure in her last role as group HR director at Dixons Carphone and was heavily involved in setting the HR strategy following the merger of the two standalone businesses.

Hyndman also led a number of business transformation initiatives during a successful 18-year tenure at M&S where she built her reputation as an effective operator.

New faces, new challenges

Hyndman, Sally

Sally Hyndman to join Debenhams

Sally Hyndman is to join Debenhams as HR director

After a difficult period during which Debenhams has struggled to carve out a clear identity in a crowded marketplace, the new strategy marks Bucher’s attempt to position the retailer as a leader in what he terms “social shopping”.

It also presents a good opportunity to refresh the executive team – for new faces to come in and for loyal servants to seek a new challenge.

“Last month’s reported 6.4% fall in half-year profits on flat sales shows Bucher and his leadership team have work to do”

Outgoing HR director Nikki Zamblera has been a key presence at the retailer over the past 12 years and leaves a fine legacy, including a range of new HR processes and systems.

Morrison, meanwhile, will replace Peter Swann who leaves after four-and-a-half years of service to take up the role of operating director at WHSmith, an excellent opportunity for Swann who helped build Debenhams’ multichannel supply chain.

Last month’s reported 6.4% fall in half-year profits on flat sales shows Bucher and his leadership team have work to do, turning Debenhams into a destination for customers who increasingly want shopping to be a pleasurable, not just convenient, experience.

He’s made a good start by hiring two candidates who, on paper, are more than up to the task.

NameJob roleCompany exitingCompany joiningJob role
Lisa Henderson Consumer experience marketing manager for EMEA Ugg Manchester Arndale – CBRE UK Head of Marketing
Fiona Ross Managing director, Evans Arcadia    
Anne Secunda Continuing as managing director, Wallis Arcadia Managing director, Evans
Phil Maudsley Managing director Express Gifts Findel Chief executive
Paul Kendrick Deputy managing director Internal promotion Express Gifts Managing director
Tim Kowalksi Group finance director Findel    
Peter Cross Communications director Internal promotion John Lewis Customer experience director
Joshua Schulman Neiman Marcus Group President of Bergdorf Goodman and NMG International Coach President and chief executive of the Coach brand
Andre Cohen President of North America and global marketing for the Coach brand Coach    
John Colley Managing director Majestic Wine Hobbycraft Chief executive
Catriona Marshall Chief executive Hobbycraft    
Ben Turner   Internal promotion Well HR director
Kris Lee Group chief financial officer Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group Card Factory Chief financial officer
Michael Loeve Chief executive B&Q UK and Ireland Netto International Executive vice president
Nigel Oddy     The Range Chief executive
David Anderson International director BHS Wyevale Garden Centres Retail operations director



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