TITLE: Governor and chief executive officer.
COMPANY: Hudson’s Bay Co.
NOMINATED FOR: Baker began his career in his father’s large real estate business and has taken it to new heights through retail acquisitions including Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay Co., North America’s two oldest department store chains. Now he considers himself a retail operator that happens to own a lot of real estate.
Baker has been injecting new life into The Bay in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the U.S. by rebuilding the leadership of both stores, and funding major renovations and remerchandisings. The Bay has been upgrading its image to a more modern and relevant player from a sleepy, overspaced moderate department store, while L&T has been contemporizing and working to shed its reputation as “your grandma’s store.” More dollars are being earmarked for further renovations at L&T’s Fifth Avenue flagship. Most recently, Baker took to the road to garner investor support for an HBC initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, which took place on Monday. Shares of HBC ended the first day of trading only slightly up on the opening price. The stock closed at 16.89 Canadian dollars, or $16.98, after fluctuating throughout the day. HBC sold nearly 21.5 million shares of the company’s common stock at 17 Canadian dollars, or $17.01 each. The Toronto-based firm said the net proceeds from the completed 365 million Canadian dollar IPO, or $367.5 million at current exchange, will be used to repay indebtedness of the company.