Mar 11, 2020
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Debenhams is on the hunt for a new CEO

Mar 11, 2020

In a shock move, Debenhams CEO Stefaan Vansteenkiste is reportedly planning on stepping down from his position within months.


He only became the top boss at the British department store in August, but it seems his brief tenure is coming to an end.

According to Sky News, Vansteenkiste had always been considered a temporary chief, stepping in at the end of the summer to support the company’s financial restructuring. Now that the company’s CVA with creditors cannot be challenged anymore, the group is free to proceed with the final phase of its debt restructuring.

This is likely to take the form of a £100m debt-for-equity swap designed to give the group some breathing space.

Stefaan Vansteenkiste said in a statement on Wednesday that the conclusion of the challenge period was “great news for Debenhams. We can put the distraction of this litigation behind us and proceed with our plans to turn the business around. With committed investors, a strengthened board and a restructured balance sheet we have the platform from which to rebuild a sustainable business,” he added.

Debenhams’ new owners have reportedly appointed headhunter Spencer Stuart to lead the search for a successor. An insider told Sky that the group wants to have a new boss in time for peak trading in the run-up to Christmas.

Vansteenkiste is an expert in restructuring, and was installed as CEO of Debenhams after a period as its chief restructuring officer. But it could be that what the company now wants is someone who knows retailing inside out and can take the firm forward in the most challenging period for retail in decades.

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