International Association of Department Stores Names New Leadership

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PARIS — The International Association of Department Stores announced today the appointments of Holger Blecker and Kamshim Lau as its new president and vice president, for a renewable one-year term.

Blecker, who is the chief executive officer of German retailer Breuninger GmbH & Co. since 2017, is stepping into the position previously held by Juan Carlos Escribano, the CEO of upscale Mexican department store chain El Palacio de Hierro.

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Thirty-four-year-old Lau is the executive director of Lifestyle International Holdings Limited, which operates Hong Kong-based department store chain Sogo. A member of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association’s executive committee, she replaces Peter King, chairman of Danish retailer Magasin du Nord, as vice president of IADS.

Lau’s appointment marks the second time an Asian member has been appointed to a leadership position within the IADS, after the 2017 appointment of Ji Xiao An, CEO of Beijing Hualian Group, which owns the SKP malls across China.

This new leadership “reflects the vast diversity of the business models at work in the world of department stores,” the IADS stated, describing Blecker and Lau as representing “a new generation of seasoned leaders coming from the world of department stores itself.”

Both executives are alums of its IADS Academy, a long-standing training initiative for promising young retail executives that has trained over 180 people.

The retail trade association, which has its headquarters in Paris, was founded in 1928 as a think tank to address the challenges faced by retailers around the world, including the increased competition from e-tailers.

It currently has 12 members across the world including Galeries Lafayette, El Corte Inglès in Spain and The Mall Group, one of the largest mall operators in Thailand. The cumulated annual turnover of its members tops 31 billion euros across 490 stores in 19 countries.

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