// Debenhams executive chairman Terry Duddy to resign next month
// Turnaround specialist Stefaan Vansteenkiste appointed as new CEO
// Vansteenkiste was initially enlisted to take on the role of chief restructuring officer back in April
Debenhams executive chairman Terry Duddy is due to step down next month as the retailer’s owners appointed turnaround specialist Stefaan Vansteenkiste as the new chief executive.
Vansteenkiste was enlisted by Debenhams in April to take on the role of chief restructuring officer, but is now poised to replace Duddy next month.
Duddy, whose previous roles include serving for UK giants Argos and Homebase, has been leading Debenhams after former chief executive Sergio Bucher quit when the department store retailer earlier this year.
Vansteenkiste’s previous role saw him working at corporate recovery firm Alvarez & Marsal, and most recently he served as interim head of Intertoys, which operates 500 stores in Europe.
Debenhams expects Vansteenkiste’s appointment to serve as a purpose in turning the business around in time for the crucial Christmas trading period.
Debenhams confirmed the appointment in a press release this morning.
“The board welcomes Stefaan’s appointment as CEO,” Duddy said.
“We concluded that he is the right person to take the business forward into the next phase of its recovery.
“Stefaan has already made a strong contribution since joining Debenhams, and has the support of our investor consortium to drive forward our turnaround plan.”
Vansteenkiste said: “The retail industry faces a challenging environment and everyone at Debenhams acknowledges that.
“But we have a clear plan and Debenhams has a great team of people who are committed to delivering it.
“I am very excited about Debenhams’ strong prospects and with a restructured balance sheet there is a robust platform from which to build a turnaround, based on Debenhams’ clear brand focus, broad customer reach and differentiated product offer.”
Meanwhile, Debenhams is currently in the midst of an existential threat of a legal challenge, funded by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, pertaining to its restructuring process.
Debenhams has plans to close down 50 of its 166 UK stores, with the first tranche of 22 closures planned by early next year.
In total, more than 4000 staff are expected to be made redundant, which adds to the UK high street’s doom and gloom.