James Harden, the bearded NBA All-Star on the Brooklyn Nets who has unfortunately due to injury been sitting on the bench during the playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks, has found another seat to fill — he’s joined the board of Saks.
Aside from playing pro-basketball and being into fashion, Harden, an investor and entrepreneur, has made a minority investment in Saks, which is the Saks Fifth Avenue e-commerce company.
Harden’s portfolio includes minority ownership of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo and the National Women’s Soccer League’s Houston Dash, as well as stakes in various brands, including Therabody, BodyArmor, Art of Sport, Stance and Pura, where he serves as creative director. Harden is also the founder of Thirteen, a Houston-based fine dining restaurant.
Formed just last March, Saks has been building its board of directors. Deven Parekh and Adam Berger of Insight Partners, a capital investor and a minority shareholder in Saks, and Franz-Ferdinand Buerstedde of Rhône Capital, have been appointed as board members.
Others on the board are Richard Baker, executive chairman and chief executive of the Hudson’s Bay Co., which operates Saks, as well as the Saks Fifth Avenue stores, the Saks Off-Fifth off-price retailers, and the Hudson’s Bay department store chain in Canada; Marc Metrick, CEO of Saks, and Sebastian Gunningham, a strategic adviser to the company.
“As we work to build this new board, James is an important and valuable addition,” Baker said. “With experience in growing businesses and as someone who values self-expression through fashion, I am confident that he will bring a distinct point of view that will help us better deliver for our customers. His expertise, combined with that of our other board members, will enable Saks to further capitalize on the significant growth opportunity within luxury e-commerce.”
Harden added, “This is an exciting opportunity for me to combine two of my personal passions — a love of fashion and teaming up with brands that have the potential to lead while making an impact on the communities they serve. I look forward to working with the Saks team, and to having a direct impact on the company’s future success, the fashion community and its customers.” The playoff series between the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks is tied, two games apiece.
“We have a significant opportunity as a stand-alone company,” Metrick said. “With our rapid growth strategy coupled with the unique perspectives of our board members, I look forward to working together to help drive Saks into the future.”
Parekh is a managing director at Insight Partners, where he manages investments in application software, data and consumer internet businesses.
Berger, another managing director at Insight Partners, previously served as chairman and CEO of Digital Room Incorporated. He also currently serves as Chairman of Achieve3000, Illuminate, PDI Software and Campaign Monitor, and as executive chairman of Optimizely.
Buerstedde is a managing director at Rhône Capital, an investor in HBC, and a member of the HBC board.