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Richard Baker by Anthony Jenkins (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail/Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
Richard Baker by Anthony Jenkins (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail/Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

the lunch

Richard Baker: A balancing act in choppy retail waters Add to ...

His father taught him early the basics of drawing up a lease and getting financing. Still, he learned from his late mother about the importance of art, which he also tries to impress on his children.

“Society doesn’t appreciate the value of the arts,” he says, already late for his next appointment. “Exposing young people and children to the arts enables people to think differently … I tended to look outside the box.”

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CURRICULUM VITAE

BEGINNINGS

Born Nov. 27, 1965 in New York City.

His father, Robert Baker, founded and runs National Realty & Development Corp., one of the largest private owners of shopping centres in the U.S. with more than 20 million square feet of space and Wal-Mart and Target as anchor tenants.

As a boy he was intrigued by his father’s business, tagging along on mall tours. At family meals, discussion turned to why he should never guarantee a loan. In high school, he ran a catering business, serving dessert at a bar mitzvah for 100, among other assignments.

Graduated from Cornell University, where he sits on the advisory board of the hotel school and real estate program.

CAREER

Now governor (chairman) and CEO of Hudson’s Bay Co., which includes the Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters, Fields and the U.S. Lord & Taylor, with a total of about $4-billion of sales. Last year, he spearheaded $1.8-billion deal to sell most of Zellers leases to U.S. discounter Target Corp.

Owns, along with his father, NRDC empire; previously CEO of NRDC Equity Partners, a private investment firm which bought HBC in 2008. Also executive chairman of Retail Opportunity Investments Corp., a REIT that acquires U.S. retail properties.

PERSONAL

Married to Lisa, with three children, 12, 15 and 17.

Commissions works by artists such as Leo Villareal.

Ten-acre estate in Greenwich includes two pools, one of which is rimmed with fiber-optic strands of light that change colour, based on a computer program. Two other homes in Telluride, Colo., and on North Fork of Long Island.

Often works from chauffeured Cadillac Escalade, equipped with wireless Internet, flat screen TV, fax and printer; travels in the family’s Gulfstream; loves skiing and touring stores.

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