Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass to Depart for Levi Strauss




Retail veteran, who has been under pressure from activist investors, to eventually become jeans giant’s CEO.

By guest author Suzanne Kapner from the Wall Street Journal. Dean Seal contributed to this article.

Kohl’s said Michelle Gass will step down from her role as CEO next month.Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg News

Updated Nov. 8, 2022

Kohl’s Corp. KSS 7.11%increase; green up pointing triangle

Chief Executive Michelle Gass is leaving the department-store chain early next month to join Levi Strauss LEVI -0.98%decrease; red down pointing triangle & Co. with plans to have her take over as the jeans giant’s CEO.

At Kohl’s, Ms. Gass has been under attack from activist investors for sales declines and a steep drop in the company’s stock price. In September, activist investor Ancora Holdings Inc., urged the company to replace Ms. Gass and its chairman. Kohl’s shares jumped 6% in early Tuesday trading.

Ms. Gass will leave Kohl’s Dec. 2 and join Levi Jan. 2, where she will serve as president with oversight of Levi’s brand and global digital and commercial operations. She will succeed Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh within 18 months, the company said.

Kohl’s appointed Tom Kingsbury to serve as interim CEO until a permanent successor is named. Mr. Kingsbury is a former Burlington Stores Inc. BURL -0.69%decrease; red down pointing triangle CEO who joined Kohl’s board in 2021 as part of a settlement with activists.

Kohl’s also released preliminary results for the quarter ended Oct. 29. The company said that same-store sales decreased 6.9% compared with a year earlier. Net sales fell 7.2 %. The company earned 82 cents a share compared with USD 1.65 a share.

It plans to report full results on Nov. 17.

Kohl’s, with roughly 1100 stores, has struggled to attract shoppers amid rising competition from discounters, fast-fashion chains and online competitors. Earlier this year, Kohl’s scrapped plans to sell itself to the owner of Vitamin Shoppe.