TORONTO – The CEO of Hudson’s Bay Co. will leave the company and return to his consulting firm next month, the company says — less than two months after he helped bring the Canadian department-store chain to an international market.
Gerald Storch, who joined the Toronto-based retailer in January 2015, will return to Storch Advisors effective Nov. 1, the company said in a statement.
“I’m looking forward to returning to my advisory firm to work with a range of companies during this transformational time for the retail industry,” Storch, who also once held the top job at Toys “R” Us, said.
Richard Baker, whom Storch succeeded in the top role, will resume the CEO’s duties on an interim basis, while the company searches for a permanent replacement.
Baker said he and the board are grateful for Storch’s work, which included leading cost-cutting efforts and addressing the challenges for the company’s multiple banners in a fast-evolving retail environment.
The team at HBC (TSX:HBC) is focused on delivering a strong holiday season and looking forward at getting the most value from its retail and real estate assets, Baker said.
The retailer, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, has been struggling in a shifting retail landscape where consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping.
This summer, the company announced it was cutting 2,000 jobs and faced pressure from an activist investor to unlock value in its real estate holdings.
HBC has remained focused on its European expansion, with the first Hudson’s Bay store opening last month in the Netherlands.
At the time, Storch said there was a big gap in the Dutch market between a very-high end luxury player and discount chains, and he expected the company to be welcomed with open arms.
Storch’s departure was announced after the Toronto Stock Exchange closed Friday. The stock was at $11.96 in Toronto prior to the announcement.