Debenhams board strengthened with digital expertise

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Debenhams Group today said two digital veterans had joined its parent company’s board as it looks to strengthen the department store chain for its ongoing turnaround.

Debenhams, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, is owned by parent company Celine Jersey Topco Ltd following its administration in the spring. Today it said that John Walden, who was previously chief executive of Home Retail Group and its then subsidiary Argos and is now chairman of Naked Wines, would join its board, along with Kevin Conroy, founder and chief executive of Conroy Media, which advises early stage and high growth companies. 

Conroy was previously president, digital and media for MGM and held global and strategic roles at Univision, AOL and Berteslmann. 

Mark Gifford, chairman of Celine Jersey Topco Ltd, said: “We are delighted to appoint two such distinguished figures to the board. John brings multi-line and multi-channel expertise with a deep understanding of the UK retail environment, while Kevin’s digital and online experience and entrepreneurial background, with a wide-ranging international perspective will be very valuable. I know Stefaan and the operational team will welcome their insight and strategic understanding. We are assembling a strong board and, with a supportive investor group, substantial resources and a clear plan, Debenhams is well set to implement its turnaround.”

Debenhams is currently working to transform its business at a time when department store customers are shifting to buy online rather than in store. It aims to put mobile and social at the heart of the business as it looks to adapt to the changing way that its customers are buying. But it also plans to close stores. Initially, it has said it will close 22 stores from a total estate of 166. Closures are expected to begin after the Christmas trading season and be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2020. 

Image courtesy of Debenhams

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