Ted Baker makes Osborne's acting CEO role permanent

Troubled retailer Ted Baker has appointed Rachel Osborne as its permanent CEO, following a four-month tenure as acting chief exec.

Osborne joined Ted Baker last November as CFO, but was elevated to running the business one month later after previous incumbent, Lindsay Page, quit amid a fourth profit warning for the retailer in 2019.

Today’s appointment makes it three CEOs in a year at Ted Baker, whose longstanding leader – and founder – Ray Kelvin left the business amid allegations of inappropriate conduct 12 months ago. Previous strong sales figures reversed almost immediately, resulting in its leaders describing last year as “the most challenging in our history” – one that ended in an independent review after an error was discovered inflating inventory value by £58 million.

Osborne has over 20 years of experience in retail, joining Ted Baker from Debenhams, where she had worked as CFO. Previous roles include: CFO at pizza chain, Domino's; finance director of group enterprise at telecoms company, Vodafone; and finance & strategy director at department store chain, John Lewis.

She has also held senior positions at Sodexo, Kingfisher and PepsiCo.

At Ted Baker, the new CEO has already been leading a significant period of change and transformation, including the development of key strategic priorities and the announcement of the sale and leaseback of the company's headquarters to British Airways for £78.8 million. The proceeds of the sale are being directed to repaying debt.

Meanwhile, Sharon Baylay will continue to lead the board as acting chair, as Ted Baker looks for a new chair to replace David Bernstein, who left last year. Jennifer Roebuck, currently a non-executive director on its board, will take up the new role of chief customer officer this week.

Osborne said: "The time I have spent at Ted Baker has quickly confirmed to me what a special business this is.

“We have challenges to face into in the coming months, not least the significant uncertainty caused by Covid-19, but I am confident that we will succeed through the hard work of our colleagues and the strength of our brand.”