Debenhams has confirmed that its chief executive Sergio Bucher will step down this week, days after the troubled retailer entered into administration and was taken over by its lenders.
A search has begun for Mr Bucher’s successor and in the meantime non-executive chairman Terry Duddy will assume the role of interim executive chairman.
Before Debenhams fell into administration this month, Mr Bucher failed in being re-elected to the board at the last annual general meeting in January, after two major shareholders voted against him.
However, in a rather unusual situation, the board and Mr Bucher agreed at the time that he should continue as CEO and report to the board.
The outgoing CEO was Amazon’s senior vice president of fashion before joining Debenhams in 2016.
Debenhams said on Thursday that Mr Bucher’s departure “will allow new leadership to carry through the restructuring and turnaround of the business.”
Mr Bucher said in a statement: “Now that our new financing facilities are in place, it is time to move on, knowing the company is in good hands with a plan that will deliver a sustainable future.
“I would like to wholeheartedly thank all of my colleagues for their efforts and dedication during such a turbulent time, as well as our suppliers, partners and of course customers for their continued support.”
Executive chairman Terry Duddy added that Mr Bucher “has acted at all times in the company’s best interests, and we wish him all the best for the future.”
In a move that wiped out shareholders’ stakes in the 240-year-old company, Debenhams was taken over this month via a pre-pack administration by its lenders for £101.8m, together with debts worth £520m and the company’s pension obligations.
Sports Direct boss and major Debenhams shareholder Mike Ashley, who had owned 30% of the business, failed in several attempts to take over the retailer.