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Hudson’s Bay CEO Helena Foulkes leaving later this month

Helena Foulkes attends the 2018 National Retail Federation Gala at Pier 60 on January 14, 2018 in New York City.

Dia Dipasupil | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Saks Fifth Avenue’s parent company is about to lose its CEO, as the high-end department store operator prepares to go private.

Hudson’s Bay Co. Chief Executive Helena Foulkes is leaving, effective March 13, the company said Tuesday.

Executive Chairman Richard Baker will assume the CEO role, in addition to his other responsibilities, the company said.

Hudson’s Bay shareholders last week approved a deal for an investor group that includes Baker to take the company private.

“As current and future generations change the way they live, shop and work, we are committed to transforming HBC to capitalize on these shifts,” Baker said in a statement. “It will take patient capital and a long-term view to fully unleash HBC’s potential at the intersection of real estate and retail.”

The company has struggled as traffic at department store chains has fallen, with more consumers shopping online or buying directly from brands. Foulkes, who joined Hudson’s Bay in 2018 after her stint at CVS, had focused the business on trying to improve sales at Saks and Hudson’s Bay, which is based in Canada. She spearheaded Hudson’s Bay sale of Lord & Taylor, Gilt and other European operations.

Baker had previously said publicly it would be easier to fix Hudson’s Bay’s challenges out of public purview.

Hudson’s Bay said it expects its common shares will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange at the close of trading on Wednesday.

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