Michael Sharp, the CEO of Debenhams, is stepping down in 2016, according to the company.
His departure comes amid reports that investors are unhappy with the performance of Debenhams, which is the UK's second largest department store after John Lewis.
Mr Sharp's strategy has included cutting back on promotions, strengthening online ordering and delivery options and adding in extra merchandise on parts of the shop floor that were under-used.
He will continue as CEO during the Christmas trading period and assist with the process of hiring a successor, Debenhams said.
"I hope being transparent about my intentions will stop recent speculation becoming a distraction, allowing me and the Debenhams team to focus on delivering our strategy and the important Christmas trading period," Sharp said.
Debenhams sales and profit growth have been mostly flat in the last three years while shares, though up a third over the last year, are well down on their November 2012 peak of 124p.
Debenhams shares closed at 81.5 pence on Wednesday and opened up 4 per cent at 84.5 pence on Thursday morning, suggesting the announcement had been well-received by investors.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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