May 21, 2020
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Holt Renfrew names Sebastian Picardo new CEO

May 21, 2020

Sebastian Picardo has been named president and chief executive officer of Holt Renfrew, the Canadian luxury retailer announced on Tuesday.

Holt Renfrew names Sebastian Picardo new CEO. - Holt Renfrew

Picardo is set to take over on June 1 from Mario Grauso, who has been planning to return to the United States for some time, according to a statement. 

"I want to thank Mario for his significant contribution to Holt Renfrew these last years," said Anne Pitcher, managing director, Selfridges Group, in a statement. 

"Under his leadership, he transformed our stores into the luxury destinations we have today, enhancing the business and its iconic status as a world class retail brand and a leader in the Canadian market.” 

Picardo joins Holt Renfrew from Asia's iconic luxury department store, Lane Crawford, where he was most recently deputy president and credited for creating and delivering a strong omni-channel strategy to drive customer experiences in Greater China.

He has also held leadership roles at Burberry, where he helped transform the digital side of the business, as well as at Richemont's Net-A-Porter and Kering's Alexander McQueen

"There are few senior leaders of Sebastian's pedigree and proven track record of success in the luxury retail space, and we are delighted that he will bring his extensive experience to Holt Renfrew," added Pitcher. 

"Throughout his career leading some of the world's most successful brands, Sebastian has demonstrated an ability to see retail as an all channel experience and to continually innovate and empower his teams to exceed customer expectations. We look forward to exciting new opportunities under his leadership.”

Holt Renfrew, which was once commonly referred to as the “Barneys of Canada”, has faced increased competition in Canada’s luxury market in recent years due to the entry of American retailers like Nordstrom, which entered the country in September 2014, and Saks Fifth Avenue, which opened its first two Canadian stores in February 2016.

Still, in summer 2018, Holt Renfrew announced plans to invest over $400 million to renovate and expand its store network across Canada, as well as its online platform. 

The company is currently updating its newly inaugurated Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal, and completed significant renovations at its Toronto 50 Bloor Street West flagship store and at its Toronto Yorkdale location. 

Last year, it made the decision to close its Edmonton location, as part of its ongoing strategy to focus on a large-format store model. 

Holt Renfrew stores across Canada are just beginning to reopen, following forced store closures across the country to weather the Covid-19 pandemic.

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