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A display at the Sears store at Upper Canada Mall, 17600 Yonge St., Newmarket. Former Sears Canada CEO Calvin McDonald, in the suit and glasses, reflected in a mirror in a display, left the retailer in September. He will head Sephora's North American arm.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

The former CEO of Sears Canada (TSX:SCC), Calvin McDonald, has been named to the top job in North America at beauty giant Sephora.

McDonald resigned abruptly from Sears Canada last month in the middle of the retailer's three-year turnaround plan.

He had been at the department store operator since June 2011, after arriving from grocery giant Loblaw (TSX:L).

Sephora says McDonald will take over as chief executive and president of Sephora Americas effective Jan. 1.

He'll replace David Suliteanu, who is leaving for Kendo Brands.

Sephora Americas operates more than 330 stores in the U.S. and Canada and sells a variety of products related to make-up, skincare, fragrance, bath and body and haircare.

In total, Paris-based Sephora has 1,780 stores within 29 countries in Europe and locations in China and Latin America The athletic McDonald, who often posts updates to his Twitter feed about charity runs or bike rides he was involved with, was seen as an unusual fit for Sears, a company better known for its homewares.

Christopher de Lapuente, chief executive at Sephora Global, said in a statement Thursday that McDonald had established himself as a "visionary and highly talented industry leader."

Among other things, McDonald negotiated deals that allowed Sears Canada to exit some locations at prime locations in return for payments from landlords seeking to install more lucrative tenants.

He was also seen as instrumental in repositioning Sears Canada's remaining operations in a highly competitive industry.

The retail landscape in Canada has been especially difficult in recent years given new entrants such as Minneapolis-based discount retailer Target (NYSE:TGT), as well as from established rivals such as Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Hudson's Bay (TSX:HBC).

Recently announced consolidation plans between Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. (TSX:SC), and between Sobeys Inc. and Safeway Canada have also upped the fight for market share.

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