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Debenhams co-CEO Steven Cook steps down

By Huw Hughes

28 Jan 2021

People

The co-CEO of Debenhams, Steven Cook, has reportedly exited the company days after it was acquired for 55 million pounds by British fast-fashion group Boohoo.

“Steven Cook has decided to step down as co-chief executive and will be leaving the business at the end of the month,” co-chief executive and chief financial officer Mike Hazell said in a memo to staff, seen by Drapers.

“In his typically generous way, he has offered to remain available in an advisory capacity for the coming weeks.”

Hazell added that the company's remaining management team, led by himself, will oversee the winding down of the business.

Cook joined Debenhams in 2017 as managing director of fashion and home from Canadian luxury retailer Holt Renfrew. Last year, he was promoted to co-CEO, shortly after the British department store chain fell into administration for the second time in a year.

Debenhams was acquired last week by fashion giant Boohoo for 55 million pounds. The deal included the brand and website of the high street stalwart, but not its store network.

Boohoo CEO John Lyttle commented at the time: “The acquisition of the Debenhams brand is an important development for the group, as we seek to capture incremental growth opportunities arising from the accelerating shift to online retail.

“The acquisition represents an exciting strategic opportunity to transform our target addressable market through the creation of an online marketplace that leverages Debenhams’ high brand awareness and traffic through the development of beauty and fashion partnerships connecting brands with consumers.”

Photo credit: FashionUnited