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Saks Parent CEO Helena Foulkes to Step Down

By Anne Chou
Saks Fifth Avenue
Sharkshock / Shutterstock.com

Helena Foulkes, the CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue’s parent company Hudson’s Bay Co., is stepping down. Richard Baker, Hudson’s Bay executive chairman, will succeed Foulkes as chief executive. Foulkes departs on March 13.

The announcement follows news last week that Hudson’s Bay shareholders approved a transaction with an investor group that includes Baker to take the company private. The company completed the deal on Tuesday, and it expects that its common shares will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange at the close of trading on Wednesday.

Foulkes joined Saks Fifth Avenue’s parent company in February 2018 from CVS Health Corp., where she spent 20 years, most recently as executive vice president of CVS Health and president of its pharmacy unit. She joined Hudson’s Bay at a time when the department store operator was struggling with declining traffic and competition from online retailers and other rivals. During her time as CEO, she drove the downsizing of the company selling real estate and retail assets in Europe, as well as Lord & Taylor and the online flash-sale retailer Gilt Groupe. The divestitures enabled the company to pay down debt and positioned it to go private.

Baker has said that it would be easier to address Hudson’s Bay’s challenges away from the public eye.

“The company and I are grateful for Helena’s leadership and significant accomplishments over the last two years,” said Baker in a press release. “Together, we have simplified our company, strengthened retail operations and reinvigorated our focus on the customer. Each of our businesses is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities in their unique markets and we are optimistic about this exciting next chapter for our company. Furthermore, we are confident in our go-forward leadership team and our ability to drive HBC forward.”

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