Debenhams CEO, Belgian Stefaan Vansteenkiste, will leave the ailing department store chain in the next few months. Rumours say the search for a successor already has started.
Vansteenkiste has held his position since August last year, after having been appointed ‘chief restructuring officer’ of the British chain in April. The chain had shortly before been placed in the hands of a consortium of creditors, who then promoted Vansteenkiste to CEO on an interim basis.
According to Retail Gazette, Vansteenkiste will leave within a few months and headhunting agency Spencer Stuart has supposedly already been hired to find a replacement. Debenhams has refused to respond to the news.
Vansteenkiste was hired to manage the insolvency proceedings of Debenhams. On Wednesday, the department store chain announced that all relevant procedural issues, dealt with at a hearing in February, had been resolved in its favour. The legal battle related to an appeal lodged by CPC after their original objection was rejected by the court in September. CPC owns six properties where Debenhams has premises and felt it had been unfairly treated as a creditor of the chain.
As a result, the procedure now remains valid and Debenhams can proceed with the closure of 50 of its 166 stores. For the other stores, the chain hopes to be able to enforce rent reductions. In January, the company completed its first series of closures of some twenty stores across the country.