New finance chief for retailer Debenhams

Rachel Osborne will replace Matt Smith, who jumped ship in April.


Debenhams has a new finance chief (PA)
Debenhams has a new finance chief (PA)

Debenhams has appointed a former Domino’s Pizza executive as its new finance chief as the troubled retailer attempts to turn itself around.

The group said Rachel Osborne, who has also done stints at John Lewis and B&Q owner Kingfisher, will join Debenhams on September 17.

She will replace Matt Smith, who jumped ship in April to take up a post as finance director at Selfridges.

This is a challenging time for UK retail but Debenhams has a strong heritage, leading market positions and a credible plan for its future. I look forward to being part of the team delivering the transformation
Rachel Osborne

Ms Osborne, most recently finance chief at Domino’s, said: “I am delighted to be joining Debenhams.

“This is a challenging time for UK retail but Debenhams has a strong heritage, leading market positions and a credible plan for its future. I look forward to being part of the team delivering the transformation.”

Ms Osborne will join on a basic salary of £439,000 and the maximum level of variable remuneration will be 200% of that figure.

She will also participate in the Debenhams executive director bonus scheme with a maximum bonus opportunity of 100% of salary.

In addition, she will receive an award under the Debenhams performance share plan to the value of 100% of salary.

A pension provision of 15% of basic salary will be provided alongside a car allowance of £17,850 and private medical insurance.

The appointment comes just days after Debenhams said it would swing the axe on up to 90 staff at its fashion and home departments.

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The struggling department store chain is undergoing a major cost-cutting drive and in January announced plans to ramp up efficiency savings, with another £10 million earmarked for this financial year and £20 million extra annually.

Chief executive Sergio Bucher, who is leading the shake-up, then went on to slash 320 store management roles in February.

In June, Debenhams issued its third profit warning this year as trading came in “below plan”.

To compound matters, Debenhams is also the subject of takeover talk, with speculation building that Mike Ashley is set to merge it with his newly acquired House of Fraser.

Mr Ashley owns just under 30% of Debenhams, close to the threshold at which he must launch an official takeover bid.

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