Debenhams senior director departs after 23 years as department undergoes reshuffle

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Debenhams has announced that its group trading director Suzanne Harlow will step down after 23 years at the company.

The retailer said Harlow intends to explore new opportunities elsewhere and will leave the business on October 20.

Her departure comes as new boss Sergio Bucher, former Amazon fashion chief, seeks to turn around the department store.

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The business is creating three new business units: Fashion and Home; Beauty and Beauty Services; and Food and Events. As a result, the role of group trading director will no longer exist, Debenhams said.

Instead, each business unit will be led by a member of the executive committee.

Commenting on Harlow’s departure, Bucher said: “I would like to thank Suzanne personally for her support since my arrival at Debenhams in October last year.

“She has done an excellent job since she joined Debenhams in 1994 and over the last eight years as Group Trading Director has driven growth in categories such as Beauty, Accessories, Food and Gift.  We have strengthened the management team over the last 12 months and now have a structure in place to support our ambition to become a leader in Social Shopping.”

Harlow will receive a full year’s salary and benefits, worth last year’s £519,269 in lieu of notice and an additional £99,000, which includes legal fees, outplacement support and “statutory rights in connection with her departure”, reports the Telegraph.

She will also be entitled to this year’s bonus and share awards should Debenhams hit performance targets.

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