Department store group Debenhams has a new CEO as of today, with experienced retail man Michael Sharp officially taking over the position from the retiring Rob Templeman.
The new boss has been Deputy CEO since November 2008 and was the obvious internal candidate for the role having spent 14 years at the leading British retailer.
Sharp was appointed the company’s Trading Director in 1997 and moved on to become Chief Operating Officer in 2004 prior to becoming Templeman’s second-in-command.
The change in management was announced in April this year, shortly followed by the announcement that Templeman would become the new Chairman of trade association the British Retail Consortium.
Nigel Northridge, Chairman of Debenhams, said: “The board is delighted that Michael Sharp has succeeded Rob Templeman as CEO of Debenhams.
“Michael is a highly talented executive whose commitment to and knowledge of our business are second to none.
“He has played a key role in managing the business at the highest level as Deputy CEO for the past three years and we very much look forward to Debenhams’ future under his leadership.”
Before joining Debenhams Sharp was Managing Director of both Principles and Racing Green, and prior to these two senior positions he held various buying & merchandising roles at The Burton Group.
He assumes the Debenhams CEO job at a time of significant change in British retailing, as the industry continues its migration to the multichannel world.
Recent sales growth at the department store business has been driven by its mobile and online channels, with overall like-for-like sales excluding VAT up 1.5 per cent year-on-year for the period from February 26th to June 25th 2011.
In the 43 weeks to June 25th online, in-store ordering and mobile sales were up by 77 per cent compared to the same period in 2010, highlighting customers’ growing preference for purchasing products remotely.
Commenting on the decision to appoint Sharp as his successor in April, outgoing Debenhams boss Templeman said: “Michael and I have worked together extremely closely for eight years and I know that he has the talent and experience to lead Debenhams forward.
“I will remain fully engaged in managing the business until I pass on the baton to Michael in September and look forward to continuing my involvement for another year after that as Michael and the board see fit.”