Kevin Mansell to retire as Kohl’s CEO and president in May

Michelle Gass will assume role of CEO, Sona Chawla will become president

The Kohl's Corp. headquarters in Menomonee Falls.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:21 pm

Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, chief executive officer and president announced Tuesday he will retire in May 2018.

His role will be split in two positions. Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer will assume the role of CEO. Sona Chawla, Kohl’s chief operating officer, will assume the role of president.


In the 35 years Mansell has been at Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s, the company grew 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.

“It has been a privilege to spend 35 years at Kohl’s, 19 years on the board and nearly 10 as CEO,” Mansell said in a written statement. “I look forward to this last year of my career, building on the positive momentum we have going into the holidays, furthering the development of our operational excellence and traffic-driving plans and ensuring a seamless transition for our associates, partners and shareholders.”

Last month, Kohl’s has begun exploring a partnership with online giant Amazon. Kohl’s will begin offering free returns to Amazon customers in October at 82 stores located in Los Angeles and Chicago.

Kohl’s will also begin selling Amazon’s “Smart Home Experience” devices at 10 stores in the Los Angeles and Chicago areas in October.

Mansell said he is confident Gass will continue to focus on the long-term financial health of the business.

“The retail industry is going through a transformational amount of change and Michelle is extremely well qualified and positioned to lead Kohl’s through this evolution,” Mansell said.


In a written statement, Gass said she is “energized by the challenges Kohl’s and other retailers are facing and believes the company is uniquely positioned to face them.

“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.

Gass joined Kohl’s in 2013 as chief customer officer, with leadership responsibility for marketing and the e-commerce business. Her role expanded to chief merchandising and customer officer in 2015, adding the company’s merchandising, planning and product development divisions to her areas of responsibility.

Prior to joining Kohl’s, Gass spent nearly 17 years at Starbucks where she held a variety of leadership roles overseeing marketing, Starbucks beverage, food and merchandising, and global strategy.

Prior to Starbucks, Gass began her career with Procter & Gamble.


Chawla joined Kohl’s in 2015 as chief operating officer. Prior to joining Kohl’s, Chawla spent seven years with Walgreens in a variety of senior leadership roles including president of e-commerce and president of digital and chief marketing officer.

Chawla will maintain her responsibilities for the company’s omnichannel operations including all store operations, logistics and supply chain network, information and digital technology, and e-commerce strategy, planning and operations.

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