Kohl’s president Sona Chawla will step down

Decision comes about one year after assuming role

Sona Chawla is stepping down as president of Kohl’s Corp., the Menomonee Falls-based retailer announced Friday.

Chawla will leave the company in mid-October “to pursue new opportunities,” according to a news release. Chawla’s departure comes just more than one year into her current position as second in command at Kohl’s.

“I want to thank Sona for her partnership and leadership in helping to drive our business forward and setting us up for the future,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer. “Amongst many contributions, Sona has been instrumental in our progress as a leading omnichannel retailer, driving innovation and growth across our digital business and stores, as well as providing leadership to our logistics strategy and long-term technology roadmap. Sona has been a key member of the Kohl’s leadership team, and we wish her great success in all that is ahead of her.”

Chawla joined the company in November 2015 as chief operating officer. She became president of the company in May 2018 upon the retirement of Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s former chairman, chief executive officer and president.

Mansell’s role was split between Chawla and Gass, who was simultaneously promoted to CEO from her previous role as chief merchandising and customer 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.

With Chawla leaving, Kohl’s said it has launched a comprehensive search for a chief operating officer, although it did not disclose plans to fill the soon-to-be-vacant president position. 

The company on Friday also announced Paul Gaffney has been named senior executive vice president and chief technology officer. He will assume his new position in mid-September.

Gaffney will be responsible for all technology, information and digital platforms supporting Kohl’s omnichannel business. He most recently served as chief technology officer of Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“I’m excited to welcome Paul Gaffney to the Kohl’s team,” Gass said. “His extensive experience leading transformational technology teams and impressive track record of results will be a tremendous asset to Kohl’s. He joins our strong technology team, ready to continue our path forward in driving innovation and change across all aspects of our business. Paul is an excellent addition to our senior leadership team.”

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.