Michelle Gass, who has served as Kohl’s CEO since 2018, will step down on Dec. 2 to take a top job at Levi Strauss.
Tom Kingsbury, a Kohl’s board director, will take over as interim CEO until a permanent successor is named.
Kingsbury previously served as president and CEO of Burlington Stores, as well as senior executive vice president of Kohl’s.
The move comes amid a tumultuous time for the Menomonee Falls, Wis.–based department store chain.
In its preliminary third quarter financial results, Kohl’s said its comp sales decreased 6.9% from the prior year and net sales decreased 7.2%.
An activist investor, Ancora Holdings, which holds a 2.5% stake in the retailer, had agitated for Gass’s removal as CEO. The board said it has confidence in Gass.
Earlier this year, Kohl’s put itself up for sale, spurred by a different activist investor, Macellum Advisors. It had a prospective buyer, Franchise Group, but decided to stay an independent public company.
In January, Gass will join Levi Strauss, with a planned ascension into the CEO role within the next 18 months, succeeding Chip Bergh.
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