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Debenhams shareholders vote bosses off board

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Sergio Bucher joined Debenhams from Amazon

The chief executive of Debenhams has been voted off the retailer’s board, but will remain in his role, the troubled retailer has said.

Two major shareholders, Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, and Landmark Group, voted against Mr Bucher’s re-election, the BBC understands.

The board said it had “full confidence” in plans put in place by Mr Bucher and the management to reshape the business.

Chairman Sir Ian Cheshire was also voted off the board and will step down.

The board said Mr Bucher was not re-elected to the board “principally as a result of the votes of the same two major shareholders” who voted against Sir Ian.

However it added: “Of the votes cast… Sergio received 44.15% votes in favour of his re-election. Excluding those two shareholders, the vote for Sergio to continue on the board was approximately 99.6% in favour.”

Debenhams board said it was “mindful of its responsibilities to all shareholders and has full confidence in Sergio and in the management’s plan to boost the business.

As a result, it added, the board and Mr Bucher had agreed that he should continue as chief “reporting to the board”.

However, Sir Ian had “concluded it is no longer possible for him to remain chairman of Debenhams,” it said.

Sir Ian had been on the Debenhams board for two years.

Terry Duddy, Debenhams’ senior independent director, has been appointed interim chairman. He said: “I recognise that individual shareholders have wished to register their dissatisfaction.

“I am looking forward to working with Sergio. My first task is to meet with shareholders so that I understand any concerns that they may have.”

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