TORONTO - The governor and CEO of Hudson's Bay Company has died.
The company's board of directors announced in a release late Saturday night that Jerry Zucker died earlier in the day after a battle with cancer. His age was not immediately given, but he's believed to have been in his late 50's.
Effective immediately, the company announced Zucker's wife Anita is to become HBC governor, making her the first woman to hold that position in the company's 338-year history.
Current HBC deputy governor and president Rob Johnston will become CEO.
"While we grieve this tragic loss, the Zucker family is committed to the continued success and growth of Hudson's Bay Company and its related entities," said Anita Zucker.
Zucker is also survived by children Jonathan, Andrea, and Jeffrey, and two grandchildren.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Zucker family in their time of mourning. The best tribute we can give to Jerry is to continue his vision for the long-term success of HBC," said new CEO Rob Johnston.
Zucker was a self-made Charleston, S.C. billionaire businessman and philanthropist whose global interests also included a professional hockey team, according to the Charleston Post and Courier website Saturday. He was part owner of the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League.
A native of Israel who grew up in Charleston and Jacksonville, Fla., Zucker was founder, chairman and CEO of The InterTech Group Inc., a global conglomerate that is considered one of the largest privately held businesses in the U.S., the website reported. The company owns textile, chemical, manufacturing firms and has estimated annual sales of US$3 billion.
He acquired the Hudson's Bay Company, the oldest commercial corporation in North America, in 2006.
Forbes magazine recently put Zucker's wealth at US$1.2 billion, making him the 962nd wealthiest person in the world, the website stated.