Selfridges loses second finance chief in four months

Selfridges has lost its second finance boss in four months amid growing uncertainty over the future ownership of the luxury department store.

Preetha McCann is understood to have stepped down as Selfridges chief financial officer earlier this month to take up another position elsewhere, just months after she took up the post.

The Telegraph revealed in November that Ms McCann was joining Selfridges from professional services group EY, saying at the time that she had been “tempted away by an offer that was too good to refuse”.

She replaced Matthew Smith in the luxury store’s chief financial officer post.

Selfridges declined to comment on Ms McCann’s exit.

The departure comes at a time of turmoil for Selfridges, which has found itself at the centre of an ownership battle following the collapse of its co-owner Rene Benko’s Signa.

Last weekend, The Telegraph disclosed that bidders were circling the company amid a desire by Selfridges’ other co-owner Central Group to secure a new partner for the business.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is among those interested in buying a stake, City sources said.

Selfridges has sought to talk down any impact from the situation, insisting there will be no impact on the running of the business. Ms McCann’s exit is unrelated to ongoing uncertainty at the company, sources said.

Selfridges is split into a property business, which controls the stores, and a trading company. Central last year seized control of the trading business to shore up Selfridges’ future. Bidding speculation has centred on the property business. This is still 50pc-owned by Signa, which also holds a stake of around 35pc in the operating company.

The question over ownership comes as Selfridges races to turn around its fortunes. The company has embarked on a cost-cutting drive, saying last August that it would slash roles in its head offices.

Andrew Keith, the company’s managing director, said at the time that it needed to be “fit for the future, aligned and working in the most efficient way”.

He added: “Regrettably this is likely to mean some of our head office teams, including some small teams in retail who support our stores, will be resized and reshaped.”

Losses hit almost £40m in the Selfridges Retail business in the year to January 2023, according to its latest accounts.

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