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Jerry Storch to leave Hudson’s Bay Co.; company under fire

BY Marianne Wilson

The owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay has come under a new round of ire after it announced its chief executive was leaving.

Hudson’s Bay Company on Friday announced that Gerald L. (Jerry) Storch is stepping down as CEO, effective Nov. 1, 2017, to return to his advisory firm, Storch Advisors. The department store retailer said it has retained an executive search firm to recruit a CEO “to take the company to its next phase of development and growth.” Richard Baker, HBC governor and executive chairman, will serve as interim CEO. Baker, who had previously served as CEO of HBC, will be supported by the executive leadership team.

Similar to other department store companies, HBC has been hit with declining foot traffic and falling sales. The retailer has come under heavy pressure from activist shareholder Land & Buildings Investment Management, which wants HBC to tap into its real estate, valued at three times the company’s current share price. In August, Reuters reported that HBC was planning to review its options.

On Monday, Land & Buildings’ founder Jonathan Litt issued a scathing statement in which he made it clear that more action was needed beyond the departure of Storch. He called for a special meeting of HBC shareholders.

“It is typical for undervalued and struggling companies such as Hudson’s Bay to try to position the exit of top executives as a reason for investors to give them more time to right the ship – while choosing to ignore the fact that the true decision makers and those at the Board level who have been complicit in the decision making remain in power,” Litt stated. “We believe this is what is happening at Hudson’s Bay.”

In the statement, Litt voiced his displeasure that Baker, who soon will be taking on the role of interim CEO, continues to call the shots.

“This is even more problematic given how Baker has been stonewalling Land & Buildings and the investment community regarding a plan to unlock the value of the real estate embedded in the company,” he said.

Storch, one of the industry’s most well-known executives, has served as CEO of HBC since January 2015. Prior to that, he served as chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us. He also served as vice chairman of Target.

Storch’s departure is the latest in a series of high profile exits from the retailer. Don Watros, president of HBC International, stepped down in September. Edward Record, former finance chief of J.C. Penney, was named CFO of Hudson’s Bay in August, replacing Paul Beesley.

HBC operates more than 480 stores around the world. Its leading banners across North America and Europe include Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gilt, Saks Off 5th, Galeria Kaufhof, the largest department store group in Germany, and Belgium’s only department store group Galeria INNO.

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New president for Safeway division

BY Michael Johnsen

A seasoned Albertsons’ veteran has taken on new responsibilities.

Jim Perkins, Albertsons executive VP retail operations and special projects and president of its Acme stores division, has assumed command of Safeway’s Eastern division as well, reported the Washington Business Journal. Former Safeway president Dan Valenzuela “left the company to pursue other opportunities,” the report said.

Perkins has spent the last 30 years as a pacesetting leader in the grocery industry. Jim’s passion for the grocery business began in 1982 at Albertson’s as a courtesy clerk, and he developed into a key leader for them in several areas of the country. He served as VP operations for Albertsons, and director of operations for Albertsons LLC’s Southern Division.

Perkins left Albertsons and joined Giant Foods as a regional VP, but returned to Albertsons as the president of Acme Markets in 2012. He was named executive VP operations, East Region in April 2015, and returned to lead Acme Markets in June 2017.

Perkins is expected to re-invigorate the Safeway store base, the Journal reported.

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QVC Group shakes up leadership team to support pending acquisition

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

New leaders are set to take the reins at QVC.New leaders are set to take the reins at QVC.

QVC president and CEO Mike George announced plans for a new organizational structure and senior executive team for the QVC Group, specifically across the business units and global functions. All appointments will be effective once QVC’s parent company, Liberty Interactive Corp., completes its previously announced acquisition of HSN, Inc., which is expected to close later this year.

New leaders across the business units include:

QVC US: Steve Hoffman will be president, QVC US. Hofmann is currently president, QVC International. QVC US brings the QVC shopping experience—combining retail, media and social—to customers in the U.S. It is the company’s largest business unit with over $6 billion in revenue in 2016.

HSN: Mike Fitzharris will be president, HSN. Fitzharris is currently CEO, representative director and chairman, QVC Japan. HSN achieved $2.5 billion in net sales in 2016. Gregg Bertoni, who is currently senior VP, CNR Mall, will replace Fitzharris as CEO of QVC Japan.

Zulily: Lori Twomey will be interim president, Zulily, until a permanent leader is named in the coming months. Twomey is chief merchant for Zulily. In 2016, the team delivered $1.5 billion in revenue.

Cornerstone: Claire Spofford will be president, Cornerstone. Spofford is currently president, Garnet Hill, and will continue to lead that business while taking on this new leadership role. Cornerstone is an interactive and catalog business of leading aspirational lifestyle brands: Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road, and Improvements.

QVC International: A new leader for QVC International will be announced in the coming months. QVC International serves customers in Japan, U.K. & Ireland, Germany & Austria, Italy, France, and China.
Changes in the company’s global functions include:

Global Merchandising: Doug Howe will be chief merchandising officer. He is currently executive VP of merchandising, QVC.

Interactive Commerce Experiences: Mary Campbell will be chief interactive experience officer. Campbell is currently executive VP of commerce platforms, QVC. This team will drive QVC Group’s ongoing transformation and expand marketing programs to reach new segments of consumers; create new forms of ‘live’ and dynamic content, and develop next generation digital and interactive platforms. Todd Sprinkle will be chief digital officer. Reporting to Campbell, he will drive platform innovation as the company extends its global leadership in live and interactive shoppable content. Sprinkle is currently CIO, QVC.

New Ventures: Darrel Cavens will be president, New Ventures. Cavens is currently president and CEO, Zulily. He will be responsible for driving innovative retail concepts and additional growth opportunities.

Operations: Bob Spieth will be COO. Speith is currently executive VP of customer and business services, QVC and Zulily. Speith will manage global customer service, quality, supply chain and workplace services across all business units.

People, Communications & Community: Beth Rubino will be chief people officer. She is currently executive VP of human resources, QVC. This team ensures the company attracts, develops, and retains the best and most diverse talent in the industry, communicates with integrity, and gives back to global communities.

Technology: Karen Etzkorn will be CIO. She is currently CIO, HSNi.

Finance: Ted Jastrzebski will be CFO. He is currently executive VP and CFO, QVC.

Legal & Compliance: Larry Hayes will be general counsel. He is currently senior VP and general counsel, QVC.

“These are strong, seasoned executives, drawn from across our businesses, with deep expertise in their respective disciplines and in retail,” George said.

“Our new group will bring together QVC, HSN, Zulily and the Cornerstone brands to create a premier global retailer with extraordinary reach and unlimited potential,” George said. “Together, we will define a new generation of shopping that combines commerce, content, and multi-platform engagement to change the way she shops – all the while retaining the uniqueness of our well-known brands and continuing to build on our distinctive legacies.”

The new QVC Group will generate $14 billion in annual revenue, and will serve 23 million customers worldwide, according to the company.

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