Hudson's Bay hires former Toys R Us chief as CEO, Baker remains chairman

TORONTO – Hudson’s Bay Co. (TSX:HBC) says it will have a new chief executive officer starting next month, although the man who currently holds the position will remain as governor and executive chairman of the retailing company as it explores opportunities to expand to new international markets..

Gerald (Jerry) Storch becomes CEO effective Jan. 6. He has previously been a chairman and CEO of Toys R Us, and a vice-chairman of Target — the U.S. discount retailer that acquired a foothold in Canada by taking over hundreds of locations formerly operated by HBC’s Zellers subsidiary .

Storch will be responsible for HBC’s overall business, which currently includes Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Home Outfitters and HBC Digital.

Current CEO Richard Baker will remain and jointly run the Office of the Chairman with Storch, who led Toys R Us through a period of expansion into electronic commerce and China.

Donald Watros has been appointed president of a new international unit, where he will focus on identifying, launching and operating expansion opportunities.

Watros will continue to report to Baker, who has held HBC’s top executive position since July 2008. Prior to that he was chairman of Lord & Taylor, now one of HBC’s subsidiaries.

Under Baker’s leadership, HBC has divested its Zellers operations, refocused the core Hudson’s Bay brand and acquired U.S luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue and its lower-priced Saks OFF 5TH.

“The board and I could not be more pleased to have Jerry, an accomplished executive with a proven track record of growing retailers through both digital and traditional channels, join us. We believe this change will enhance our growth strategy.”