// Debenhams co-CEO Steven Cook to step away from business at the end of this month
// He exits shortly after it was given court orders to wind up in the wake of an acquisition deal with Boohoo
// The remaining management team, led by co-CEO and CFO Mike Hazell, will oversee the winding-down process
The co-chief executive of Debenhams is exiting the business shortly after it was given court orders to wind up in the wake of a £55 million acquisition deal with Boohoo.
According to Drapers, Steven Cook is leaving Debenhams as the retailer pushes on with winding down operations.
Cook joined department store in 2017 from Canadian retailer Holt Renfrew, starting off as managing director for fashion and home before he was promoted to co-chief executive in May last year – shortly after Debenhams had filed for its second administration within a year.
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The department store’s remaining management team, led by co-chief executive and chief financial officer Mike Hazell, will oversee the winding-down process.
“Steven Cook has decided to step down as co-chief executive and will be leaving the business at the end of the month,” Hazell said in a memo to staff.
“In his typically generous way, he has offered to remain available in an advisory capacity for the coming weeks.”
Earlier this week, Boohoo Group bought Debenhams out of administration for £55 million.
The deal only includes the department store’s brand assets, ecommerce and website operations, and all own-label products across beauty and fashion.
This means the remaining 118 stores of Debenhams, which went into liquidation less than two months ago, would permanently shut down, effectively making at least 10,000 staff out of work.
Boohoo Group, which owns PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal, MissPap and Boohoo itself, said the deal was a huge step in its ambitions to create the UK’s largest marketplace.
Boohoo’s acquisition will see it take ownership of Debenhams’ ecommerce operations and own-label products from around the start of its next financial year in March.
It’s thought that Debenhams’ website and branding would also be rebuilt and relaunched on Boohoo’s platforms in the near future.
The deal also allows enough time for administrators to continue running closing down sales across Debenhams’ remaining 118 shops once they are allowed to reopen after the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted across the UK.
Just a mere few hours after the Boohoo deal was announced on Monday morning, Debenhams was given a winding-up order by Judge Daniel Schaffer at a hearing in the Insolvency and Companies Court.