Beleaguered department store Debenhams has appointed the former boss of Argos as a non-executive director in order to strengthen its board as it implements a turnaround plan.
John Walden, who was chief executive of Home Retail Group until it sold Argos to Sainsbury’s in 2016 and is currently chairman of Naked Wines, has been appointed to the board of Debenhams’ parent company Celine Jersey Topco.
Kevin Conroy, the founder and chief executive of advisory firm Conroy Media, has also joined as a non-executive director.
Today’s appointments are the latest executive shake-up at the department store after restructuring expert Stefaan Vansteenkiste was hired as chief executive to oversee its rescue plan earlier this year.
In August, Debenhams’ creditors approved a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that earmarked 50 stores for closure.
The retailer defeated a legal challenge brought by landlords – and backed by Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley – at the High Court in September, giving it the green light to go ahead with the store closure programme.
The restructuring plan will also allow Debenhams to slash rents at 100 sites.
Celine Jersey Topco chairman Mark Gifford said: “We are delighted to appoint two such distinguished figures to the board…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.”