Economy

Debenhams Chair And CEO Not Re-Elected To Board At AGM

Debenhams Chair And CEO Not Re-Elected To Board At AGM

Debenhams said the results are down to tough trading conditions in the United Kingdom, but said it still expects to deliver current year profits in line with market expectations.

But it had defied predictions from the City that it would issue a profit warning over the period.

But Mr Bucher will stay on as chief executive, although not as a director.

Sir Cheshire, who was appointed to the role in 2016, was voted off the board of the company during the Debenhams annual company meeting on Thursday.

The discounter saw a 33% uplift in sales of its premium Deluxe range over the six weeks to December 30, with bestsellers including brioche burger buns and luxury mince pies. He told Sky News last month he believed Debenhams should carry out a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring to close stores.

It is understood that Mike Ashley's Sports Direct and Dubai-based Landmark Group, which collectively hold about 38% of Debenhams's shares, voted against Sir Ian remaining on the board.

"The board is mindful of its responsibilities to all shareholders and has full confidence in Sergio and in the management's plan to reshape the business".

However, Sir Ian had "concluded it is no longer possible for him to remain chairman of Debenhams", it said.

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In September, Sports Direct ruled out a takeover bid, shortly after an outgoing director said the board had discussed combining Debenhams with the House of Fraser chain that Sports Direct bought out of administration in August for 90 million pounds. Excluding those two shareholders, the vote for Bucher to continue on the board was about 99.6% in favour, Debenhams said.

Debenhams has unveiled declining sales over Christmas, but said it is still on track to deliver on profit expectations.

Duddy said "I recognise that individual shareholders have wished to register their dissatisfaction".

"We have taken decisive steps to maintain rigorous cost and capital discipline, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their hard work as we maintain a rapid pace of change".

Sports Direct is Debenhams' biggest investor with a 29.7 percent stake but its plan for the department store chain is unclear.

Mr Ashley, who founded Sports Direct, has been taking an increased interest in Debenhams.

Chairman, Ian Cheshire, stepped down immediately and was temporarily replaced by Terry Duddy, the senior independent director.

Earlier on Thursday Mr Bucher said there had been fewer customers visiting the company's stores. Those talks were "constructive", he said.


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