Ed Burstell, who arrived at Hudson’s Bay Co. just two months ago as head of partnerships, has left the company, WWD has learned.
Burstell couldn’t be reached for comment. HBC had no comment.
“He left for personal reasons,” according to a source.
While the precise reason for Burstell’s departure couldn’t be learned, it’s a disappointment to HBC considering his appointment last fall was announced with great fanfare and he was given a new title in the organization. The idea was that Burstell would have helped feed all divisions of HBC, including its growing international array of department stores, with exclusive products and innovative concepts.
HBC divisions include Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Off 5th, Find @ Lord & Taylor, Home Outfitters, Gilt, Galeria Kaufhof, Galeria Inno and Sportarena. He joined HBC on Dec. 5.
Burstell, well known in retail circles, came to HBC from Liberty of London, where he held the title of managing director and was instrumental in growing the business and forming innovative collaborations with the likes of Hermès, Manolo Blahnik, Nike, Uniqlo, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Dr. Martens and others. Liberty of London operates a historic, 141-year-old flagship on Great Marlborough Street in London’s West End which sells upscale luxury goods and is famous for its floral and graphic prints.
When he joined HBC, Jerry Storch, HBC’s chief executive officer, said Burstell had “a tremendous and well-deserved reputation in the fashion industry. He is very experienced in developing the kind of partnerships and exclusive relationships we are looking for. He works well with people.” Burstell reported to Storch.
HBC had hoped Burstell would help give HBC a leg up over the competition. Storch said HBC, working with Burstell, would seek non-endemic partnerships, conceivably involving intellectual properties, media, celebrities, consumer goods and other kinds of companies. “It’s a broad range of possibilities with very different match ups and pop-up experiences.
And Burstell was clearly pumped by the assignment, stating it entailed “engaging the consumer across all HBC platforms and price points…. It might be something in ready-to-wear, designer, home or beauty. It’s just as limited as your imagination.”
Considering his track record, creativity and innovative spirit, it’s likely Burstell will reemerge on the retail scene soon.
Burstell started as a spritzer at Macy’s and rose to top jobs at Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman, before joining Liberty where he was instrumental in reviving the store.
Before Liberty of London, Burstell was a senior vice president of accessories, footwear, fine jewelry, designer jewelry, cosmetics and fragrance at Bergdorf’s. Before that, he was general manager of Henri Bendel.