Saks parent taps health care world for next CEO

NEW YORK — The company that owns department store chains Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor is tapping the world of health care for its next CEO.

Canada-based Hudson’s Bay Co., which also operates stores under its own name, has appointed Helena Foulkes as chief executive, effective Feb. 19. Foulkes was most recently executive vice-president at CVS Health and president of CVS Pharmacy, a position she held since 2014. Foulkes, who has been with CVS for more than 25 years, has been an architect of the chain’s expansion in health care.

Foulkes succeeds Jerry Storch, who abruptly left Hudson’s Bay on Nov. 1.

The appointment comes as Hudson’s Bay, like other department store chains, is overhauling its business as shoppers shift more online or spend more of their disposable income on experiences.

Last year, Hudson’s Bay sold its Lord & Taylor flagship in Manhattan to the office space-sharing company WeWork. L&T also struck a deal with Walmart to start selling its clothes on Walmart’s site this spring. Lord & Taylor is hoping that the move will attract new customers already buying higher-end products on Walmart.com. Meanwhile, Saks Fifth Avenue’s Manhattan flagship store is reinventing its beauty area, which will open later this spring.

Foulkes will be responsible for Hudson’s Bay Co.’s global strategy and operations for all banners, overseeing more than 66,000 associates worldwide across more than 480 stores, e-commerce platforms, supply chain, logistics and technology. When she joins the company, she will also be appointed to the board.

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

Under Foulkes’ leadership, CVS said in January it will stop significant touchups of images used in its advertising for beauty products. Foulkes also helped lead CVS’s decision to end sales of tobacco products and the creation of CVS digital, now being used by 48 million consumers to fill prescriptions.

“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.

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