LONDON, May 26 (Reuters) - Debenhams, Britain’s second-largest department store group, on Thursday named Sergio Bucher, an executive at Amazon’s fashion business, as chief executive, attracted by his online and international experience.
The retailer, which trades from 253 stores across 27 countries but has struggled in Britain’s intensely competitive market in recent years, said Bucher would join as chief executive in October, succeeding Michael Sharp, who will step down from the board on June 24.
Bucher has served as vice president, Amazon Fashion Europe, since 2013. He previously worked at Puma, Nike and Inditex.
Debenhams had said in October that Sharp would leave this year.
Under his leadership, Debenhams built its non-clothing categories, such as beauty, shed a reliance on discounting and cut back on promotions. It also added concessions in under-used store space, built up online and expanded abroad.
However, the firm has seen little sales or profit growth in recent years, while its shares are well down on their November 2012 peak of 124 pence.
Debenhams shares closed Wednesday at 73.8 pence, valuing the business at 901 million pounds ($1.33 billion).
“Sergio’s wealth of e-commerce expertise, international experience and clear leadership qualities stood out,” Chairman Ian Cheshire said.
Analysts had regarded Debenhams trading director Suzanne Harlow as the leading internal candidate for the job.
Bucher will receive a basic salary of 700,000 pounds but could treble that with bonus payments. He will also receive a cash payment of 445,184 pounds as compensation for forfeiting stock he would have received at Amazon.
$1 = 0.6799 pounds Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton and Jason Neely