Helena Foulkes is an experienced CEO and senior executive of publicly traded companies with a track record of delivering results by building high performance teams, innovative consumer-driven launches and digital transformation. She is known as a purpose-driven leader who has led significant impact on organizations and industries.
Foulkes was CEO and a board member of Hudson’s Bay Company from February 2018 to March 2020, where she led the most significant transformation of the business, ultimately creating a path to the successful privatization of the company. She reinvented the organization by streamlining the operating structure, building the leadership team, overseeing strategic transactions and overhauling operating focus of HBC. These critical shifts in the business generated $2.6B in transaction proceeds and enabled the company to pay down $1.6B of debt. During her tenure, Foulkes revamped HBC’s focus from ten business units and 65,000 associates globally to three key businesses with the most significant opportunity (Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks OFF 5TH, & Hudson’s Bay).
Prior to HBC, Foulkes spent 25 years at CVS Health, most recently as President of CVS Pharmacy and EVP of CVS Health, a position she held from January 2014 to January 2018. She led the strategic vision as well as the operations for all aspects of the company’s retail business and was the principal architect of the company’s move to becoming a recognized leader in healthcare. Over the course of her time with the company, she played an important leadership role in growing CVS to the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States, from 1,400 stores and roughly $4B in sales to 10,000 pharmacies with $180B in sales and over 200,000 employees. Foulkes is known as a consumer innovator, having led teams on efforts such as the development of the CVS loyalty program, the company’s efforts to drive digital innovation into the pharmacy experience for over 80M customers and the elimination of tobacco.
Before joining CVS, Foulkes worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co, and Tiffany & Co. She has received numerous professional honors, including being named to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business lists as well as Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business.
Foulkes serves on the boards of The Home Depot, Harry’s, mPharma, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Dodd Center at the University of Connecticut, and the Harvard University Board of Overseers. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and they have four grown children.
Helena is speaking at the Women’s Leadership Awards on October 21st – 22nd. Purchase your ticket here.