The Hudson’s Bay Co. has named Helena Foulkes chief executive officer, effective Feb. 19.
Foulkes takes the ceo slot from Richard Baker, governor and executive chairman, who has been serving as interim ceo since Jerry Storch left as ceo in October 2017.
Foulkes joins HBC from CVS Health, where since January 2014 she served as executive vice president of CVS health and president of CVS Pharmacy, running the $80 billion division with 9700 stores and 200,000 associates.
HBC said that Foulkes will be responsible for the global strategy and operations of all of HBC’s banners which include Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off-5th, Gilt and Lord & Taylor in the U.S., Galeria Kaufhof and Galeria Inno in Europe and Hudson’s Bay in Canada. The company has more than 66,000 associates, 480 stores and various e-commerce businesses.
Foulkes will be challenged to lift HBC’s struggling Lord & Taylor, Gilt, Saks Off5th and Kaufhof businesses, and to sustain HBC’s track record of monetizing its real estate for acquisitions and managing debt. Last year, the company reported losses and triggered a major cutback involving 2,000 job eliminations. For the longer term, like other retail leaders, HBC’s incoming ceo will be challenged to find ways to reinvent the brick and mortar experience so it’s more exciting and relevant and motivates consumers to spend more at the department stores.
“HBC has an amazing portfolio of retail banners, valuable real estate and an innovative approach to M&A that give it the ability to win,” said Foulkes. “The future of retail will be defined by companies that think creatively about where the consumer and the world are headed.”
She said she plans “to capitalize on HBC’s physical and digital assets and deepen our core operating effectiveness.”
Foulkes will join HBC’s board of directors.
“Helena is a transformational leader who will invigorate the business with a new perspective as we position HBC for the future,” said Baker. “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.”
She spent more than 25 years at CVS and was instrumental in growing the company to the largest pharmacy health care provider in the U.S. She was also instrumental in CVS’s decision to discontinue sales of tobacco products, and in the creation of CVS digital.
Prior to joining CVS in 1992, Foulkes worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Tiffany & Co.