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04 Michael Sharp

Chief executive, Debenhams

Cool, calm and collected, Michael Sharp eased into Rob Templeman’s shoes to take over as chief executive in September. Already ahead of his predecessor in last year’s list, Sharp continued to be the puppet master of Debenhams’ margin-boosting own-bought strategy, as well as its famous price promotions, offering £150m of cuts just as the spring 11 season began. He has also laid out plans to make Debenhams an “international, multichannel retailer”. Full-year profits jumped 10% to £166.1m and net debt was cut by £133.1m to £383.7m.

Least likely to… Give an interview

Last year’s position 15

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