3 Debenhams execs depart amid senior leadership shake-up

Richard Cristofoli, Sally Hyndman Mark Ashman leave Debenham amid senior leadership shake-up
The leadership shake-up is part of streamlining & cost-cutting efforts by new CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste.
// 3 Debenhams executives exit amid a shake-up of senior leadership
// Richard Cristofoli, MD for marketing, beauty and digital, is leaving after 9 years with Debenhams
// Transformation and people director Sally Hyndman leaving after 2.5 years with the retailer
// Stores, operations & food MD Mark Ashman exiting after less than a year

Three senior executives are reportedly leaving Debenhams amid a leadership shake-up as part of streamlining and cost-cutting efforts by new boss Stefaan Vansteenkiste.

According to Retail Week, marketing, beauty and digital managing director Richard Cristofoli is the most senior figure named in the shake-up, as he is leaving after nine years with the department store.

Cristifoli helped launch Debenhams’ new “beauty hall of the future” concept as well as play a key role in repositioning the retailer’s branding and the Found It 2018 Christmas campaign.

The two other executives reportedly leaving Debenhams are stores, operations and food managing director Mark Ashman and transformation and people director Sally Hyndman.

Hyndman has been with Debenhams for two and half years, while Ashman only started in February this year.

Their departures come as turnaround specialist Stefaan Vansteenkiste takes the reins as chief executive, replacing executive chairman Terry Duddy.

Vansteenkiste was first enlisted by Debenhams’ new owners in April to take on the role of chief restructuring officer, and in his new role he is expected to undergo a transformation of the troubled retailer.

Debenhams’ beauty team will now report into managing director Steven Cook, who has been given that category as a new addition to his current fashion and home remit, Retail Week reported.

Debenhams international director Jess Shepherd will reportedly assume responsibility for digital.

Erin Brookes, who is on secondment from Alvarez & Marsal – the same firm Vansteenkiste worked at before moving to Debenhams – has been selected as chief restructuring officer and interim marketing director.

Meanwhile, Ashman’s responsibilities  will be assumed by Angela Morrison in her expanded role of director of stores, technology and supply chain.

Finally, the HR team that worked under Hyndman will now report to Vansteenkiste.

Retail Week said Cook, Shepherd, Brookes and Morrison would be joined on Debenhams’ executive team by chief financial officer Rachel Osborne, who has been in her role for a year.

Debenhams’ CVA, which was approved by creditors earlier this year, includes plans to close down 50 of its 166 UK stores, with the first tranche of 22 closures to shut down early next year.

The retailer will also seek rent reductions and and further cost-cutting across its remaining sites.

As a result, around 4000 staff are estimated to be affected by the changes.

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.

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