NEW YORK — Hudson’s Bay Co.’s $2.9 billion takeover of Saks Inc. is set to close Monday and personnel changes are already sweeping through the retailer.
Saks shareholders signed off on the deal Wednesday morning at a special meeting at the University Club here. Later in the day, outgoing chairman and chief executive officer Stephen Sadove detailed a raft of high-level departures in an internal memo obtained by WWD.
Among those leaving is Robert Wallstrom, executive vice president and president of Saks Off 5th, who sources said will become ceo of Vera Bradley, the $540 million multichannel company selling colorful accessories, handbags, luggage, eyewear, travel items and gifts. Before running Off 5th, Wallstrom managed the Saks Fifth Avenue Manhattan flagship. RELATED STORY: Hudson's Bay Co. Taps Michael Crotty and Russ Hardin >>
Also headed for the exit are Denise Incandela, EVP and chief marketing officer; Terron Schaefer, EVP and chief creative officer; Kevin Wills, EVP and chief financial officer; Michael Rodgers, EVP and chief information and operations officer; Mike Brizel, EVP and general counsel; Chris Morena, EVP of human resources, and Julia Bentley, senior vice president of investor relations and communications.
Now the focus shifts to Richard Baker, Hudson’s Bay’s governor and ceo, who has his team lined up and his plan laid out.
“With the addition of Saks Fifth Avenue, we will begin an exciting new era for HBC,” Baker said in a statement. “By uniting Saks, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, we are creating a platform built upon three brands with a rich heritage in retailing….We plan to invest in the growth potential of each brand and category. And we will unlock the tremendous potential of the company’s world-class real estate assets.”
All together, Baker will oversee a retail empire with 320 doors, including 179 full-line department stores, 72 outlet stores and 69 home stores.
While Saks will remain headquartered in New York, Hudson’s Bay plans to expand the banner to Canada with as many as seven full-line stores over the next several years.
Marigay McKee of Harrods will become president of Saks on Jan. 6.
According to Sadove’s memo, three members of Saks’ current executive committee are expected to stay on board, including EVP of stores Jennifer de Winter, who was promoted to chief merchandising officer; Michael Burgess, president of Saks Direct, and Keith Campbell, group SVP of merchandise planning.
Liz Rodbell will become president of the HBC Department Store Group, including Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, on Feb. 1. Both McKee and Rodbell will report to the office of the chairman, which includes Baker and the company’s chief operating officer Don Watros.
Bonnie Brooks will also become vice chairman of the company on Feb. 1 and will continue to advise the office of the chairman and the board of directors.
The Saks shareholder meeting was a largely pro forma event that lasted less than 10 minutes and was attended mostly by the retailer’s management and lawyers. Shareholders were able to vote by proxy, and 99.4 percent of the total votes cast were in favor of the deal.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast