// Long-standing Selfridges managing director Anne Pitcher to leave at end of year
// Move follows completion of £4bn acquisition by Central Group and Signa Holding
Selfridges group managing director Anne Pitcher is standing down at the end of the year after the completion of the department store group’s sale.
The billionaire Weston family finalised the disposal of Selfridges to an Austrian and Thai joint venture yesterday for a price thought to be close to £4bn.
Pitcher leaves after 18 years at Selfridges Group, which she joined after spells at luxury department store rivals Harrods and Harvey Nichols. She became the managing director of the Selfridges store in Oxford Street in 2011 and then managing director of the whole group in 2019
The department store said that Pitcher planned to “remain in the company’s leadership team until the end of the year to ensure a smooth integration into the newly formed group”.
Central Group, of Thailand, and Signa Holding, an Austrian property company, will each hold a 50% stake in Selfridges. Central is controlled by the billionaire Chirathivat family and Signa was founded by property magnate René Benko.
Selfridges Group consists of 18 stores under four brands in three countries, including Selfridges, Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands.
The sale, agreed last December, came less than a year after the death of the family patriarch Galen Weston, who spearheaded the £598 million acquisition of Selfridges in 2003.
The new owners of the department store intend to create “the world’s leading luxury omnichannel platform” following the completion of the takeover.
Immediate priorities will be a modernisation of Selfridges’ famous food hall and redevelopment of the hotel site.
Selfridges’ ecommerce platforms, which “draw over 30 million online visitors monthly and ship to over 130 countries worldwide”, will be integrated with those of the new owners and omnichannel is viewed as a major opportunity.
Pitcher’s role will be taken over under an expanded role for Stefano Della Valle, chief executive of Central and Signa’s luxury stores group in Europe.