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Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher bows out

The Industry London
18 April 2019

The boss of Debenhams will leave the company following its pre-pack administration, it has been announced.

Cheif executive Sergio Bucher is to step down this week, just under two years since he joined the high street retailer in May 2016.

Chairman Terry Duddy will take the reins in the interim as executive chairman, while a search for a new CEO is conducted.

It comes after Debenhams was placed into a pre-pack administration which wiped out the holdings of all investors, including Mike Ashley’s Sports D irect which had been desperate to take control of the retailer itself, and put it into the hands of lenders.

The process will see the department store’s debt reduced and comes ahead of a wider restructuring which will see around 50 stores close. It also cleared the way for a £200m refinancing plan, announced in March, to go ahead.

Debenhams said Mr Bucher’s departure would allow new leadership to oversee the restructuring and turnaround of the business.

Duddy said: “Debenhams now has a clear path towards a viable and sustainable future and we have Sergio and his team to thank for that.

“With a positive, professional approach, he has acted at all times in the company’s best interests, and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Bucher joined from Amazon two years ago, where he ran the tech giant’s European fashion business.

Commenting on his departure, he said: “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.”

Bucher had already been forced off the retailer’s board after Mike Ashley staged a coup which ousted him and former chairman Ian Cheshire in January.

Ashley has threatened Debenhams with legal action over the administration process, calling it a “national scandal”.

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