Hudson's Bay Co. shareholders last week approved one of Canada's biggest compensation packages for Chief Executive Officer Helena Foulkes. But a little over a quarter voted against it, in a non-binding ballot, according to a filing with the Canadian securities agency.
The meeting was closed to press, but several outlets reported that Foulkes' package totaled $29.4 million, according to shareholder materials viewed by news organizations that were circulated ahead of time. Her deal includes about $1.6 million in base salary and $19.6 million in shares and other payments, according to a report from Canadian Business.
Meanwhile, Vanessa LeFebvre, who recently announced that she is stepping down as president of Lord & Taylor, in July will join Adidas as senior vice president, commercial, leading the company's U.S. wholesale, physical store and e-commerce businesses, Women's Wear Daily reports.
Foulkes is at the helm of a struggling retail company that has mostly garnered headlines by shedding assets.
The report of an unusually closed-off shareholder meeting comes as struggles continue at several of Hudson's Bay Co.'s banners, including at its Canadian flagship and Lord & Taylor department store. A group of shareholders has proposed a take-private action that was slammed by activist investor Land & Buildings as "woefully inadequate."
Hudson's Bay Co. was in the black in its most recent quarter thanks only to the C$817 million it garnered from its sale of the Lord & Taylor New York City flagship, so it's little wonder the company remains focused on monetizing its real estate. In addition to selling that building, the company has sold off its Gilt flash sales unit and the remaining interest in its German real estate joint venture and other interest in its European retail joint venture to partner, SIGNA, for $1.5 billion, marking its exit from Germany.
By banner in the quarter, store comps rose 2.4% at Saks Fifth Avenue, fell 4.3% at Hudson's Bay and rose 4.4% at off-price Saks Off 5th. The company also in recent months shuttered its Canadian home business, bringing that into its Hudson's Bay stores, and plans Saks Off 5th store closures.
Foulkes' new package makes her the second-highest paid chief executive in Canada, according to Yahoo Finance, which cited a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. That report quotes from the company's shareholder materials as defending her package as "necessary and in the best interest of the company to provide a one-time new hire grant of stock options to create alignment with shareholders' interests, and incentivize the CEO to drive long-term value creation."