Hudson’s Bay Hires Harrods Chief Merchant McKee for Saks

Hudson’s Bay Co., the Canadian department store chain that’s acquiring Saks Inc. for $2.4 billion, hired Marigay McKee, Harrods’ chief merchant, to be president of the U.S. luxury retailer once the deal is complete.

Stephen Sadove, Saks’s current chief executive officer, and Ron Frasch, the retailer’s president, will leave when the transaction is complete, according to a statement from Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay yesterday. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. McKee is a 14-year veteran of London-based Harrods, Europe’s largest department store.

Hudson’s Bay Chief Executive Officer Richard Baker said when the acquisition was announced in July that he intended to run Saks as a separate operation, still based in New York, and would retain existing management. The parent company’s three chains, Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, and Saks Fifth Avenue will retain their own identities, he said at the time.

Jennifer de Winter, currently executive vice president of Saks and director of its stores, will become Saks Fifth Avenue’s chief merchandising officer, and report to McKee, according to the statement.

Saks was little changed at $15.87 at the close in New York yesterday and has advanced 51 percent this year. Hudson’s Bay gained 1.7 percent to C$17.44 in Toronto for a 4.3 percent advance in 2013.

Hudson’s Bay is Canada’s largest department store chain, and the combined company will have 179 full-line department stores, 72 outlet stores and 69 home stores throughout the U.S. and Canada, along with three e-commerce sites.

Chairman’s Office

The company also announced yesterday it will create a new office of the chairman, comprising Baker -- who is CEO and governor -- and Donald Watros, chief operating officer. The senior executives of Hudson’s Bay’s retail businesses, as well as other key executives of the company and heads of some shared services units, will report to the chairman’s office, the company said.

It also said that Marc Metrick, executive vice president, will become chief administrative officer reporting to the chairman’s office, with the main responsibility of integrating the Saks business.

Saks has 41 full store locations, including on Fifth Avenue in New York City and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California.

Hudson’s Bay plans to expand Saks Fifth Avenue into Canada and continue to roll out Saks’s outlets across the U.S., the company has said. The company is evaluating creating a real estate investment trust with the combined portfolio of the three main retail nameplates it will now own, it has said.

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