Department store Debenhams has appointed John Walden and Kevin Conroy as non-executive directors of Celine Jersey Topco, the parent company of the Debenhams Group.
Walden is currently chairman of Naked Wines (formerly known as Majestic Wine plc) and was previously held the position of chairman at Holland and Barrett International. He also served on the advisory board of L1 Retail until October 2019.
He was formerly CEO of Home Retail Group plc and its principal subsidiary Argos, stepping down following the sale of Argos to Sainsburys in 2016. Walden has also held senior management roles at Best Buy Co and Sears Holdings in the United States.
Conroy is the founder and CEO of Conroy Media. He has also previously held senior positions at Univision, AOL and Bertelsmann and among others. Conroy is currently a non-executive director of Mattress Firm and has previously served on the boards of Newell Brands and Sotheby’s.
Mark Gifford, chairman of Celine Jersey Topco, 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/online experience and entrepreneurial background, with a wide-ranging international perspective will be very valuable.”
He added: “I know Stefaan [ Vantsteenkiste, Debenhams CEO] 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.”
The news follows Mark Gifford’s appointment as chairman last month after Debenhams revealed it secured a £50m loan facility with some of its existing lenders to help it through the busy festive period.
The department store chain said the new cash injection will provide the group with an additional £50m liquidity in order to cover peak trading, in particular the weeks running up to Christmas.