Stefaan joined the department store chain in April 2019 as chief restructuring officer and has been working closely with the executive team on a new business plan to deliver a turnaround.
The retailer said: ‘Stefaan is an experienced turnaround expert at professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal. He is a seasoned ceo and retail operator, having served as ceo or advisor at a number of large retail and consumer companies.’
Terry Duddy, chairman of Debenhams Group, will work with Stefaan ‘to ensure an orderly handover’ and then step down from the board in September.
Terry commented: “The board welcomes Stefaan’s appointment as ceo. 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.”
Stefaan 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’m 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.”
Administrators were appointed to Debenhams plc on April 9 2019. The underlying group operating companies are unaffected and all businesses are continuing to trade as normal. Debenhams trades out of around 240 stores and is available online in more than 90 countries.