Hudson’s Bay names CVS Health executive Helena Foulkes as its new CEO

A former pharmaceutical executive will be the new CEO for Hudson’s Bay Co., Canada’s oldest department store chain announced Monday.

Helena Foulkes will start in the role on Feb. 19, the company said in a statement.

She takes over for Richard Baker, who has been acting as interim CEO since the departure of Jerry Storch last fall. Baker will continue as governor and executive chairman.

“Helena is a transformational leader who will invigorate the business with a new perspective as we position HBC for the future,” Baker said in a statement.

“Throughout her 25-year tenure in retail, she has a proven track record of making bold, strategic choices that, at their core, put the customer first and have proven enormously impactful to business success.”

Foulkes comes to HBC from CVS Health Corp., a health-care company with about 9,600 pharmacies. Since January 2014, Foulkes was the company’s executive vice-president and president of subsidiary CVS Pharmacy.

At the department store chain, Foulkes will be responsible for HBC’s global strategy and operations for all of its banners. She will also be appointed to HBC’s board of directors.

“The future of retail will be defined by companies that think creatively about where the consumer and the world are headed,” Foulkes said in a statement.

Foulkes added that one of her priorities will be to “build upon strategies that capitalize HBC’s physical and digital assets and deepen our core operating effectiveness.”

The department store is grappling with persistent losses in an increasingly tough retail environment by implementing a transformation plan.

It included cutting 2,000 jobs across North America in an effort to save the company $350 million annually by the end of fiscal 2018. The company has also expanded its online offerings and is looking at ways to unlock more value from its vast real estate holdings.

Companies in this story: (TSX:HBC)

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