Daniel Finley

CEO, Debenhams

Dan joined Debenhams as Chief Executive Officer in January 2022 to digitally transform the iconic British heritage brand. Prior to joining Debenhams, Dan spent a decade as Group Multi Channel Director at JD Sports Fashion Plc. He delivered unprecedented multi channel growth as JD established itself at the pinnacle of the sports fashion industry, becoming a global multi channel leader and entering the FTSE 100.Dan started his career in management consulting after reading Economics and History at Balliol College, University of Oxford.

1. What values are most important to you as a leader? 

I believe passion and optimism are the foundation for strong leadership. 

Passion because it’s infectious: if you love what you do then it flows through the organisation and drives better outcomes for your customers. 

2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I take inspiration from sport. 

The determination of elite athletes to do the seemingly impossible is incredible. 

To break through perceived boundaries to set new standards of excellence and to find a way through in the face of the greatest adversities – they show that anything really is possible. 

3. Best piece of advice you have been given?

My granddad always said to me that ‘you can’t soar like an eagle surrounded by turkeys!’. To me, this is about the importance of a great team – you need to surround yourself with brilliant people to soar together towards a common goal. 

4. What would you tell your younger self?

Persist with finding something you are passionate about. Change and change often until you do. Then make your passion your advantage.

5. What has been your most important or profound lesson as a leader?

Perfection is often an impossible outcome but a vital ambition. The wait for perfection often slows progress. Deliver better every day to keep moving forwards in pursuit of that perfection.