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CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue parent company steps down

  • HBC CEO Jerry Storch will step down, effective Nov. 1 to join his advisory firm Storch Advisors.
  • HBC has not yet named a successor and executive chairman Richard Baker will serve as interim CEO
  • Company has been under activist pressure and has been considering going private

Saks Fifth Avenue parent Hudson's Bay Company announced Friday that CEO Jerry Storch will step down, effective Nov. 1 to join his advisory firm Storch Advisors.

The company, which also owns Lord & Taylor and Gilt Group, has not yet named a successor and HBC executive chairman Richard Baker will serve as interim CEO as it works with an executive search firm to find a replacement.

The departure comes as the retailer – like its peers – has struggled with sales losses in its stores and a dwindling stock price. Its stock dropped to its five-year low in June and has lost roughly 30 percent of its value over the past five years. This summer, HBC announced a restructuring effort that would include 2,000 job cuts across North America.

Hudson's Bay is also facing pressure from activist investor Land & Buildings, who has urged the company to go private or redevelop its real estate assets. The Jonathan Litt-led firm revealed a 4.3 percent stake in Hudson's Bay this summer.

Amid this scrutiny, Baker has been looking to raise equity to fund a take-private of the company, in order to help escape the public market spotlight, sources previously told CNBC. These sources, though, cautioned the efforts will be a long shot, given the difficulties that leveraged retailers have faced over the past two years.

Richard Baker is a principal shareholder in the company through his investment in L&T B (Cayman), which has 17.7 percent ownership.

Storch, whose tenure at Hudson's Bay spanned roughly two years, previously held a number of retail positions, including CEO of Toys R Us.

His departure follows the resignation of HBC CFO Paul Beesley, whose replacement, former JC Penney CFO Edward Record, was named in August. Don Watros, president of HBC International, stepped down in September.