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Amazon Fashion boss named as new Debenhams chief

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Department store chain Debenhams has named Amazon Fashion boss Sergio Bucher as its new chief executive.

Mr Bucher will join in October from Amazon, where he has acted as vice president of its fashion arm in Europe since 2013.

Current Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp will step down on June 24 after nearly five years at the helm, although he will be available to help Mr Bucher with the handover if needed.

Ian Cheshire, who recently joined Debenhams as chairman, said Mr Bucher’s appointment follows a “rigorous recruitment process with some exceptional quality candidates”.

“Sergio’s wealth of e-commerce expertise, international experience and clear leadership qualities stood out,” he said.

He added Mr Bucher was the “best person” to take Debenhams forward.

Mr Bucher, 52, will join on an initial pay package worth up to £3.8m, including a £700,000 annual salary, an annual bonus worth a possible £1.05m and long-term incentive shares worth up to £1.4m.

The pay deal also includes up to £30,000 to relocate from Luxembourg and a £5,000-a-month housing allowance for the first two years, while he will get a £445,184 payment in lieu of shares he would have been paid at Amazon.

His appointment ends a seven-month hunt for a successor to Mr Sharp after he announced plans to leave last October, ending speculation over his role at the group amid shareholder pressure for a boardroom shake-up.

Mr Sharp, who became chief executive in September 2011, insisted he had always intended to leave after a five-year term.

But some of the retailer’s major investors were widely reported to have been unhappy with its performance and were seeking a boardroom overhaul after disappointing results in previous years.

Mr Bucher, who is Swiss-Spanish, has held a number of roles in retail and fashion brands, including as general manager of Nike Retail in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

He was also previously general manager at Spanish retailer Oysho, which is owned by Zara parent group Inditex.

Mr Bucher said: “I am excited to be joining Debenhams, with its strong UK heritage, a growing international presence and a track record of supporting and developing brands and designers.

“I look forward to working with its experienced and talented team to take Debenhams forward to an exciting new future.”

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