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Michael Burgess to Head Hudson’s Bay’s Digital Unit

Hudson's Bay Co. has created a division called HBC Digital, the goal of which is to drive digital commerce and marketing across the group of HBC businesses.

Hudson’s Bay Co. is making a bigger push into the digital realm.

This story first appeared in the January 30, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company has created a division called HBC Digital, the goal of which is to drive digital commerce and marketing across the group of HBC businesses. Michael Burgess will head the operation as president, reporting to the office of the chairman. Richard Baker is chairman and chief executive officer of HBC.

HBC’s business platforms on the e-commerce side include Hudson’s Bay, HBC Outlets, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, and are all operated separately. Burgess is president of Saks Direct.

While HBC Digital is expected to drive the digital commerce experience to make each retail site user-friendly for all consumers, the new division will have the added role of working as an in-house digital marketing agency. In that role, HBC Digital will be responsible for determining how to increase the return on investment on the company’s digital marketing spend, as well as leveraging the talent of those working across the four e-commerce platforms.

Baker said, “HBC Digital will leverage our scale and will help unlock a great deal of opportunity across all of our businesses.” The ceo added that as the “customer’s expectations evolve and the lines between digital marketing and commerce blur even more, we feel this group not only creates near-term benefits, but will also enable HBC to become more nimble in the digital marketplace.”

Burgess said, “Digital is transforming the shopping experience online and in store. We have a terrific team at HBC and a great opportunity to build a wonderful experience for our customers for each of our retail banners.”

In July 2008, HBC was acquired by private equity firm NRDC Equity Partners, based in the U.S. NRDC owned Lord & Taylor. HBC went public in October 2012 and trades on the Canadian Stock Exchange. In November 2013, it completed its $2.4 billion acquisition of Saks Inc. in a friendly takeover.