by Stephen Garner
Hudson's Bay Company Netherlands
Hudson’s Bay Company Netherlands store rendering

Hudson’s Bay Company has announced the appointment of Dr. Wolfgang Link as chief executive officer of HBC Europe, effective May 1. Dr. Link will lead the company’s expansion and growth strategy for the European business including Galeria Kaufhof, Galeria Inno, and the entrance of Hudson’s Bay and Saks Off 5TH. Reporting to HBC’s chief executive officer, Jerry Storch, Dr. Link will oversee the European management team.

Dr. Link will join HBC after a decade with Toys“R”Us, where he served as a member of the global executive board and president of Toys“R”Us Europe since 2013. In that role, he was responsible for the company’s business operations in nine countries, including Germany, France, Spain the UK and the Netherlands, with more than 300 stores across Europe as well as country-specific online stores. Before joining Toys“R”Us in 2007 as President, Central Europe, Dr. Link served as Managing Director for the MEDIMAX specialist stores and ElectronicPartner Group Holdings, where he was responsible for the operation of more than 200 specialty stores in Germany, Hungary and Turkey. In addition, Dr. Link served many years in a variety of leadership roles at the METRO Cash and Carry Group, in corporate headquarters in Dusseldorf and in the country business units in Austria and Spain.

Don Watros, president of HBC International, will remain head of the Galeria Kaufhof Supervisory Board and will continue to pursue international opportunities in addition to supporting the company’s North American integration and cost saving initiatives.

Olivier Van den Bossche, chief executive officer of Galeria Kaufhof, will be leaving HBC Europe at the end of April to pursue other opportunities.

“We are pleased to welcome Wolfgang to the HBC family during this new phase of development for our European business, as we prepare to launch two new banners in the region,” said Storch. “Wolfgang is an accomplished leader with a proven track record in the retail sector in Germany and throughout Europe. His experience in both digital and traditional channels and profound knowledge of the European market were key in selecting him for this role, and will help foster the expansion and success of HBC Europe, including our significant investment in Germany.”

“We are committed to our long term strategy in Europe and to the €1 billion capital investment over five to seven years in Germany that we previously announced,” added Richard Baker, governor and executive chairman of HBC. “Building on the excellent market position of Galeria Kaufhof in Germany and of Galeria Inno in Belgium, we have laid the foundation for expansion in the region. I am pleased to welcome Dr. Wolfgang Link to take our HBC Europe business to the next level.”

“It is an honor for me to join HBC, a proven global leader known for best-in-class retail with exceptional banners,” commented Dr. Link. “Among Germans, Galeria Kaufhof is the epitome of a great department store, and the same is true in Belgium of Galeria Inno. With the introduction of Saks Off 5TH in Germany, and both Hudson’s Bay and Saks OFF 5TH in the Netherlands, exciting steps are ahead of us. I look forward to working with the strong HBC Europe management team.”