HBC LP, continuing to transform since turning private last March, has appointed Michael Culhane as chief financial officer, in a string of executive changes disclosed Thursday.
Culhane, who has 30 years experience in finance and accounting primarily in retailing, in September will succeed Ed Record who is stepping down as planned awhile ago. Record was instrumental in completing HBC’s privatization and will remain with HBC through a transition period.
In other key appointments, Vinton Vickers has become managing director, special projects for HBC Properties and Investments, the company’s real estate and investments operating company.
And Stephen Gold, the chief technology officer since May 2018, will also take on the role of chief process improvement officer. Gold and his team will work with each of HBC’s operating companies to identify and implement “transformational” initiatives, which the company cited as robotic process automation, online profitability, returns optimization and fraud Improvements.
The Toronto-based HBC now functions as a holding company and has decentralized so its three retail divisions — Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th and Hudson’s Bay — and its real estate and investments arm operate more autonomously.
HBC’s business also includes partnerships with Simon Property Group Inc. to own properties in the U.S., and with the RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust to own properties in Canada. In the last few years, there have been several dispositions including selling off Lord & Taylor, Gilt Groupe and the European operations and shuttering Home Outfitters.
“When we became a private company, I laid out my vision to make investments for the future while moving quickly to evolve for today’s consumer,” Richard Baker, HBC’s governor, executive chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Having the right team of talent and leaders in place is key to bringing this vision to life as we work to position HBC and our distinct operating companies for long-term success.”
Culhane previously held cfo roles at Uline Inc., a shipping and industrial supplies distributor; the former Bon-Ton Stores, and the Fareportal Inc. online travel agency. Earlier, he served as cfo for HBC and held senior finance roles with the former May Department Stores Co. “With Michael’s extensive professional background and industry expertise, he will be vital to ensuring we maintain our financial discipline as we make investments for the long term,” Baker said.
Vickers will lead corporate development projects and serve as a board member for Saks, Off 5th and Hudson’s Bay “bringing additional perspective to their growth strategies,” Baker said. “As HBC Properties and Investments solidifies its strategy as an independent operating company, we see tremendous opportunity to build upon our strong track record of making value-enhancing investments. Vinton’s deep experience in corporate strategy, private equity and asset management will bring new, insightful and valuable perspective to our businesses.” Baker has long been keen on combining Saks with Neiman Marcus and from time to time has held talks with Neiman’s owners.
Vickers most recently was an independent consultant, advising firms on investment, strategy and corporate development. Earlier, he was portfolio manager for Lombard Odier Asset Management and 360 Global Capital LLC. He has also held roles with JP Morgan Chase, ING Barings Furman Selz LLC and Lehman Brothers Inc.