The boss of struggling department store Debenhams is leaving after 5 years in the job, bowing to pressure from investors.
Debenhams announced today that Michael Sharp has told the board to start looking for a successor, as we will leave sometime next year. Sharp has been CEO since 2011.
Sharp and chairman Nigel Northridge have been facing pressure from a group of high-profile shareholders including Cenkos, Milestone Resources, Schroders, and Old Mutual, City AM reports. The group looking to oust the leadership holds a collective 25% of Debenhams shares.
Debenhams has had a rough few years. The company suffered a run of profit warnings 2 years ago and sales and profits remain weak.
The company announced today a full-year pre-tax profit in line with forecasts, up 7% to £113.5 million, but underlying sales only inched ahead 0.6% when you strip out currency fluctuations.
Sharp says in this morning’s statement:
It is a privilege to lead Debenhams and I am very proud of our achievements since September 2011. I believe Debenhams is now capable of competing in the ever-changing and challenging world of multi-channel retailing. I accepted the job of Chief Executive with the intention of spending five years in the role and although it will be difficult to leave a fabulous company like Debenhams, now is the right time for the Board to begin the process of identifying my successor.