Debenhams appoints ex-New Look boss to the board

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Debenhams appoints ex-New Look boss Stephen Sunnucks to the board
Stephen Sunnucks has held leadership positions at a number of household retail names, namely Gap and New Look.
// Stephen Sunnucks appointed non-executive director on Debenhams’ parent company board
// He is a former Gap global president and New Look CEO
// The appointment completes the new board and follows string of appointments, such as of chairman Mark Gifford

Debenhams has appointed former New Look chief executive Stephen Sunnucks as a non-executive director on the board of parent company Celine Jersey Topco.

The department store chain said Sunnucks’ appointment completes the new board of Celine and follows a string of recent appointments, such as House of Fraser and Game veteran Mark Gifford as chairman.

Other board appointments include former Argos and Habitat boss John Walden, former Claire’s Accessories boss Beatrice Lafon and former MGM and AOL executive Kevin Conroy – all of whom joined the Celine board as non-executive directors.


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Sunnucks has held leadership positions at a number of household retail names and now acts as a senior advisor at business advisory firm Alix Partners.

From 2005-14, he held various senior executive management roles at Gap, taking the role of global president from 2012-14.

Previously he was New Look chief executive and has held non-executive directorships at Superdry, Phase Eight and Helly Hansen. At the latter two, he was chairman.

Sunnucks started his career at Marks & Spencer, followed by periods at Sainsbury and Burton Group – before it became known as Arcadia Group – where he was Dorothy Perkins managing director.

“Stephen’s reputation in the retail industry is second to none,” Gifford said.

“He has been involved in various turnaround and restructuring situations both in the public and private sphere and has strong apparel credentials.

“His appointment completes our board, which blends breadth of experience and skills with strategic insight and understanding.

“[Chief executive] Stefaan [Vansteenkiste] and I are delighted that the operational team will have access to the support of such a group, as he and his colleagues work to deliver the Debenhams turnaround.

“With continued access to substantial funding from our investor group, Debenhams is well set to navigate the next phase of its recovery.”

Debenhams recently shut down 19 stores in the UK this month – resulting in 660 job losses – as part of its CVA.

This marked the first wave of closures, as the retailer aims to shut down almost 50 of its worst-performing stores in its estate of 166.

The next tranche of store closures – 28 stores – are reportedly expected in 2021.

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