Hudson’s Bay navigates legal waters to hire a new CIO

August 18, 2015 02:46 PM

Apparel chain Hudson’s Bay Co. went shopping at Kohl’s and checked out with a technology executive.

Hudson’s Bay, No. 97 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, today named retail industry veteran Janet Schalk chief information officer following a legal battle over her services. Schalk had spent the past five years working for Kohl’s Corp. (No. 22 in the Top 500), and in September 2012 became chief information officer there.

In late July, she reportedly submitted her resignation to take the same position with Hudson’s Bay, citing a significant raise and potential for career advancement that didn’t exist at Kohl’s, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. Kohl’s sued Schalk, citing a noncompete clause in her employment contract. On Aug. 10, a judge ruled in Schalk’s favor, paving the way for her to join Hudson’s Bay for a reported $1 million raise from what she was earning at Kohl’s.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision and are looking forward to having Janet join HBC,” a Hudson’s Bay spokeswoman said. A Kohl's spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

To the extent she contributed to the retailer’s online growth, Kohl’s had good reason for wanting to hold on to Schalk. data shows that online sales grew to $2.168 billion in 2014 from $1.013 billion during her first full year with the company in 2011, a compound annual growth rate of 20.96%.

Hudson’s Bay CEO Jerry Storch on Tuesday touted Schalk’s skills.  "Janet is a proven leader, and her success in creating a strategic information technology function that drives customer engagement across all channels will be critical in advancing HBC's IT systems and supporting the Company's growth," he said.

Schalk, who also had worked as an executive at Target Corp. (No. 16) joins Hudson’s Bay as the company is growing its online business at a rapid clip. E-commerce grew 37.2% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2015 for the retailer. In November 2013 Hudson’s Bay acquired Saks Fifth Avenue, which has contributed to its online and offline sales growth.




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