Hudson Group: Joe DiDomizio
Posted on Jan 28, 2014 11:30am


Why the Boss wanted to go undercover:

Located in airports, train stations and bus terminals across North America America, Hudson Group prides itself on being The Traveler's Best Friend.

Hudson Group is the largest duty-paid travel retailer in North America. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of international duty-free travel retailer Dufry AG (DUFN) of Basel, Switzerland. The company operates over 700 Hudson, Hudson News, Hudson Booksellers, cafes, specialty retail and duty free shops in 70 airports and transportation terminals in the United States and Canada.

The Company was originally wholly owned by The Cohen family. During the 1980s, Joe's father, Mario DiDomizio, worked with the Cohens to create a retail division as an adjunct to their magazine distribution business, paving the way for Hudson News, the first national newsstand brand. Hudson Group was soon formed to include other retail brands and became Hudson Group retail specialists.

Mario asked Joe to join the company after college in 1992 as an assistant general manager at LaGuardia Airport. After working from the store level and up, Joe became the COO of the company with responsibility for business development and growth.

In 2008 the majority interest in Hudson Group was sold to Advent International, a private equity firm. Later in 2008 Dufry AG acquired the business (Advent was the controlling shareholder). James Cohen continues as an owner in the business and today sits on the Dufry Board.

Joe was named CEO by Advent in 2008. Dufry named him Regional COO for North America at the same time.

Jobs he will do undercover:
Café Barista – Years ago, Hudson introduced the concept of offering baked goods and coffee along with travel essentials. It's important to see first-hand how this aspect of the business is running. How will this CEO handle the pressure of having to make specialty coffee drinks for impatient customers who are busy trying to catch their flights?

Service Associate – Customer Service is a key ingredient in being The Travelers' Best Friend. Travelers require quick and and riendly service, and ease of finding whatever they are looking for. To keep a clean and efficient store, while providing great customer service, is the perfect way to bring in more customers and to make sure they're happy. After hearing about the life struggles of an employee, how will this boss try to help out in her personal life?

Distribution Center Employee – Even though this boss hasn't spent much time in the day-to-day operations of a distribution center, he understands the importance of this vital function. Warehouses are essentially the heart of the business, receiving goods from all over the world and distributing those goods out to the stores in a timely manner. How will this boss react after finding out that one of the company's many warehouses is not operating as efficiently as it could?

Sales Associate – Hudson takes great pride in hiring from within, promoting worthy people who have put in the long hours with the company. Many of the employees in the higher ranks of the company have come from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, , so it's crucial to see first-hand why this airport creates such great employees. How will this CEO react to an employee who's been bullied in the past and lacks confidence?

Featured Employees
Elizabeth, Coffee Barista: The "news café" is a time honored part of Hudson Group's business. With over 8,000 customers a week, this locally-branded airport news café caters to busy travelers. It's important to make sure that all of the employees are true to the motto of being The Traveler's Best Friend. Elizabeth live up to this motto, with a warm smile and kind personality and always taking on a motherly role in the bakery. She has overcome personal obstacles in her life, and she still comes to work with a positive attitude, ready to take on the day. Joe would love if everyone in the company had the bubbly personality and positivity that she has every day.
Jessica, Sales Associate: With over 30,000 travelers passing through its 16 retail stores every week, Nashville International Airport is the perfect place to showcase Southern Hospitality. It's imperative that the customer service is outstanding with the amount of traffic in this region and that each store exudes the Traveler's Best Friend" vibe that Joe is expecting. Jessica is a bubbly personality and is also a straight shooter. She loves keeping her store in tiptop shape, and she isn't afraid of getting her hands dirty. Following some legal troubles that Jessica experienced, Hudson gave her a second chance when no one else would hire her, something for which she is extremely grateful. Jessica and Joe enjoy a great personal connection, and Joe finds that he has a lot of respect for everything she has been through.
Charity: Distribution Center Employee: The distribution centers are the heart of Hudson Group's success. Unlike regular retail stores, millions of customers pass through Hudson travel hubs each year, at all hours of the day, making it very important to keep popular items on the shelves. Charity is a sweet Southern woman who doesn't like to complain; she is responsible for all items being in stock and making sure orders arrive on time. She has a difficult home life and has had to overcome a lot, which causes Joe to let down his guard and truly connect with her during their short time together.
Jason, Sales Associate: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is known for producing great employees who have climbed the ladder of Hudson, and Hudson takes great pride in hiring from within this airport. Jason is a soft-spoken bookworm with a passion for books and helping people. After being bullied in high school and moving around his whole life, the 29-year-old never regained his confidence. Jason would be a great manager at Hudson Group, but he just lacks the self-confidence to pursue it. He possesses the intelligence and customer service skill, but Jason just needs that drive to succeed. Joe hopes that he and the outstanding Sea-Tac management team can provide the quality mentoring that Jason needs.