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Ted Baker taps Debenhams executive Osborne as new CFO

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By Reuters
Ted Baker taps Debenhams executive Osborne as new CFO
A new Debenhams department store is seen in a shopping centre in Watford, Britain, September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls   -   Copyright  Peter Nicholls(Reuters)

(Reuters) – British fashion retailer Ted Baker Plc <TED.L> said on Thursday Rachel Osborne will become its new finance chief once she steps down from the same position at Debenhams, following just one year in the role at the department store chain.

Osborne, a retail industry veteran with more than two decades of experience, will join Ted Baker “at a date to be agreed within the next few months”, the company said in a statement and published after Debenhams announced her departure.

Debenhams said its current Group Finance Director Mike Hazell, who has been with the company for nearly a decade, would replace Osborne. She is leaving at a time the group is going through a restructuring under company voluntary arrangement.

Osbourne is set to join Ted Baker’s C-suite after its founder Ray Kelvin infamously stepped down in March as chief executive officer following claims that he presided over a culture of “forced hugging”.

UK retailers are battling severe challenges on Britain’s high streets with shoppers tightening their purse strings amid Brexit uncertainties, while competition from online rivals and higher costs also take their toll.

On the back of those struggles, Ted Baker posted its first drop in annual profit since the 2008 financial crisis in March this year. In April, administrators were appointed to assist Debenhams through its restructuring.

Shares of Ted Baker were up 1.3% to 930 pence at 1126 GMT on the London Stock Exchange. They have plunged 40% since the start of 2019.

(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)