Lord & Taylor 5th aveLord & Taylor 5th Ave Store Closing, New York, USA - 21 Jun 2018

Hudson’s Bay Co. has an open slot in the boardroom.

The retailer said Denise Pickett stepped down as a director to “focus on her responsibilities at American Express” where she is president of global risk, banking and compliance, and chief risk officer, a role she took on in February.

HBC is looking for a successor.

“Over the past six years, Denise has been a valuable member of HBC’s board and I would like to thank her for her contributions, strategic guidance and counsel,” said Richard Baker, governor and executive chairman. “On behalf of HBC and the board, we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Whoever takes the spot on HBC’s board will have plenty to get up to speed on.

The company has been struggling to catch its stride and making big changes.

Helena Foulkes was named chief executive officer in February, Gilt was sold off to Rue La La, the firm’s German operation is in flux and weighing a joint venture with its rival Karstadt-owner Signa Holding, and Lord & Taylor is being downsized.

WeWork Property Advisors agreed to buy the Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue flagship for $850 million last year, but the agreement was just amended last week. Instead of closing this month, the final signing of the deal was moved to Nov. 13 and WeWork has the option to convert $125 million of the transaction value into an equity interest in the building that would continue to be held by an HBC venture.

Baker — a real estate operator who caught the retail bug and built HBC into a serious player — likes to say the company has three businesses: real estate, mergers & acquisitions, and retail.

But some are easier than others.

At WWD’s CEO Summit last year, he described the real estate business as “a place where we can make a lot of money” and said M&A is an area companies with little growth can be made more profitable. As for retail, he said: “Being a retailer, that is too tough. Man that is tough.”

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