Ed Watson joins from the UK's second largest supermarket, where he is also head of PR for its George clothing business.
He joins Debenhams in July and will report directly to MD Angela Spindler, who joined the struggling chain earlier in the year. The two previously worked together at Asda where Spindler was a board director.
Watson will be responsible for managing all aspects of Debenhams' PR and will be challenged with helping to evolve consumer perception of the brand.
A key part of Watson's remit will be to extend coverage beyond the city and fashion pages of national press, increasing the breadth and depth of Debenhams' media profile.
'Ed has a real track record in spotting opportunities to create relevant, interesting news for consumers,' said Spindler. 'His skills will enable us to share the Debenhams point of view with customers and allow us to really demonstrate our expertise in product development and fashion.'
Spindler is one of the most senior women in British retail business and is responsible for the development of the Debenhams' brand and marketing.
The department store's current marketing tie-ins include a promotion linked to the hit film Sex and the City.