NEW YORK — Kohl’s longtime CEO Kevin Mansell is retiring and will be replaced by Michelle Gass, a former Starbucks executive who has been with the company since 2013.
The company said Tuesday that the change will take place next May. Mansell, a 35-year company veteran, has been CEO since 2008.
Gass was hired as the company’s chief customer officer and took on the role of chief merchandising officer in 2015. She was with Starbucks for 17 years in roles overseeing marketing, Starbucks’ beverage, food and merchandising and global strategy. Gass began her career with Procter & Gamble.
“We are resilient, innovative and agile, and will continue to make investments in our business to provide compelling customer experiences that pave the path for our future success,” Gass said in a statement.
Like many department stores, Kohl’s has been trying to reinvent itself as shoppers move increasingly online and shift their spending away from clothing to partaking in experiences like spas. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based Kohl’s has been expanding its online operations, while expanding its brand offerings.
Kohl’s is also expanding its partnership with Amazon. It announced earlier this month it would sell Amazon devices like the Echo and Fire tablets at 10 of its stores. It also said it will pack and ship eligible Amazon return items for free at the 82 stores offering the service. There will be designated parking spots near the Kohl’s store entrances for those doing Amazon returns.
During the 35 years Mansell has been at Kohl’s, the department store chain has grown from a local Milwaukee-area retailer with a dozen locations to a national company with more than 1,100 stores across 49 states, generating annual sales of $19 billion.
Sona Chawla, Kohl’s chief operating officer, will become president, a post also held by Mansell. Kohl’s plans to have one of its current members of the board become chairman, a post Mansell also held.
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