Debenhams names ex House of Fraser finance boss as new chairman

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Troubled high street retail brand Debenhams Group has announced that Mark Gifford is to be appointed as its new chairman.

Gifford will become a director and Chairman of Celine Jersey Topco Limited, parent of the Debenhams group of operating companies. 

Gifford has a wealth of experience in large scale turnarounds, bringing stability to retail businesses and delivering change and growth in the consumer sector. 

He is currently Chairman of Radley Group and a non-executive director of Ann Summers' parent GGI and of No. 9 Investments. 

He was previously CFO of Game Digital from 2015 to 2018 and CFO of House of Fraser for eight years. 

Stefaan Vansteenkiste, Debenhams' CEO, said: "We are delighted that Mark will be joining the parent board to work with our investor consortium, who have confirmed their continuing commitment through providing additional liquidity for our peak trading. 

“Mark's expertise and understanding of business change as well as the retail industry will be invaluable. I look forward to working with him as we deliver the turnaround of the group."

Commenting on his appointment, Gifford said: "Debenhams is strongly backed by a supportive investor group with substantial resources and has an experienced management team with a clear plan to deliver a turnaround. 

“I am excited about the opportunity to play a part in building a successful future for one of the UK's best-known retail businesses. 

“We are assembling a strong group of Board members and I am looking forward to working with the team as we implement the necessary changes to deliver a sustainable and profitable future."

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