More of Debenhams’ big investors are backing City stockbroking firm Cenkos securities, who is putting together an investor rebellion to oust the top bosses. A trio of key investors – Milestone Resources, Schroders and Old Mutual – are all said to have teamed up with Cenkos, according to The Sunday Times. Together the three investors own around 25% of Debenhams. The Chairman, Nigel Northridge, has reportedly interviewed one candidate to replace Chief Executive Michael Sharp and it has been suggested that the change could be made in the new year. It has also been said he could be spared if he acts quickly to replace Sharp.
An unnamed source, close to the coup, commented on the current management, “people have been there too long, nothing’s changing and it’s one-way traffic”, as a reflection on the ineffective trading strategy. Analysts reflecting on the coup reported that a new management team could be welcome to the department store group, who is too reliant on discounting.
However, is this the right time to destabilise the business in its run up to business to Christmas, which is the most important time for any retailer? Whoever takes over will face challenges and even if they a new strategy in place, it will take time to deliver.