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Debenhams names new fashion and home boss

Debenhams has appointed Steven Cook as its new fashion and home managing director.

Cook joins from Canadian department store chain Holt Renfrew, where he was chief merchant for five years until his exit in 2016.

He will start his role in early January and will oversee the retailer’s buying, design and merchandising divisions for fashion and home.

Richard Cristofoli, previously Debenhams’ marketing director has been promoted to managing director of beauty, beauty services and marketing. Debenhams’ retail director, Ross Clemmow will also broaden his role as managing director for retail, digital, food and events.

Prior to his role at Selfridges-owned Holt Renfrew, Cook was divisional vice president and general manager, of apparel and accessories for Sears Canada. 

CEO Sergio Bucher said: “Steven’s appointment comes following a comprehensive global search to find the right candidate to drive Debenhams’ product offer forward. Steven brings great credentials to the role and by organising under three business units, our managing directors will have more visibility and accountability for delivering the customer experience. I look forward to welcoming Steven to the business and working with him to deliver Debenhams Redesigned.”

In May 2017 Debenhams appointed Sally Hyndman as HR director and Angela Morrison as technology and supply chain director. International director, David Smith, who joined the business in February 2016 takes the title of managing director, international.

As exclusively revealed by Drapers in November Debenhams appointed BHS International’s brand director, Sara Bradley, as its new womenswear director.

Steven Cook: Career highlights

In his five-year stretch as chief merchant and senior vice president of buying and merchandising at Selfridges-owned luxury retailer Holt Renfrew, Cook oversaw product categories including men’s and women’s clothing, footwear, leather goods, fine jewellery and beauty.

He headed up the Canadian retailer’s 80-strong team as well as its fashion office, before his departure from the business in 2016.

Before joining Holt Renfrew in 2011, Cook worked in Toronto as Sears Canada’s divisional vice president and general manager of clothing and accessories.

He was charged with overseeing profitability at its retail, catalogue and ecommerce operations, while leading initiatives to attract more of its beauty and home customers to its clothing offering.

During his time at Sears, Cook negotiated exclusive launches with brands including Calvin Klein and Kate Spade & Company, then known as Liz Claiborne, as well as womenswear labels Jones New York and Ellen Tracy.

He has also held notable roles across brands and manufacturers including Calvin Klein, US eveningwear label Badgley Mischka, Canadian manufacturer Wing Son Garments – which produced knitwear for Polo Ralph Lauren, J Crew and Nike – and Montreal-based leather brand M0851.

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