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Will Kohl’s New CEO Improve Its Performance?

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CEO succession plans

On September 26, Kohl’s (KSS) announced that Kevin Mansell, its chairman, CEO, and president, will retire in May 2018. Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer, will succeed Mansell as the company’s CEO. Kohl’s stock price rose 0.1% on September 26.

The company also announced that Sona Chawla, the current COO, will be the company’s president after Mansell retires.

Mansell has been serving as Kohl’s CEO since 2008. He was named the chairman of the board in 2009.

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About the next CEO

Gass joined Kohl’s in 2013 as the COO. She spent nearly 17 years in various leadership positions at Starbucks (SBUX). She was named Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer in 2015.

Gass has been instrumental in implementing some of the company’s major strategic initiatives including the launch of the new loyalty program, the tie-up with Under Armour, and the recently announced partnership with Amazon.

Pressure on department stores

Kohl’s and its department store peers have been struggling in recent quarters amid a tough retail environment. There has been growing competition from online retailers like Amazon (AMZN). As of September 26, Kohl’s, Macy’s (M), Nordstrom (JWN), and JCPenney’s (JCP) stock prices fell 6.3%, 38.9%, 0.8%, and 52.1%, respectively, on a YTD (year-to-date) basis.

In this series, we’ll discuss Kohl’s growth initiatives, analysts’ earnings expectations, the company’s valuation, and analysts’ ratings for Kohl’s stock.

In the next part, we’ll discuss Kohl’s growth initiatives.

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