Michelle Gass, who assumed the role of Kohl’s CEO last May 2018, remains committed to the department store’s Greatness Agenda built on five pillars: amazing product, incredible savings, easy experience, personalized connections and winning teams.
“We’re going through a transformative time in retail, and I believe that Kohl’s is uniquely positioned to lead the charge,” Gass said in May. “In the last five years, we’ve invested to remake Kohl’s for a new era and to ensure that we stay ahead among retailers.”
The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based company will continue to invest in omnichannel and technology capabilities, the store experience and portfolio, its new loyalty program and personalization, inventory management and localization, new brands and categories, its speed to market, “and most importantly, our talent.”
“And beyond this, there are many exciting initiatives that are incubating and being contemplated to keep our customers interested and engaged for years to come,” Gass said.
Gass joined Kohl’s in 2013 as chief customer officer and in 2014 was an integral leader of the creation of Kohl’s Greatness Agenda. In 2015 she was named chief merchandising officer, and was instrumental in the company’s launch of Under Armour products and its collaborations with Amazon. In 2017 Gass was promoted to CEO-elect, being groomed to replace retiring CEO Kevin Mansel.
In August, Homeworld Business named Gass as one of its “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.
“Gass is viewed as the key figure in Kohl’s resurgence in recent years,” Homeworld Business wrote. “What steps she takes to further drive store traffic while utilizing its e-commerce outlet for those who prefer to shop at home will be watched by many in the year ahead.”
Prior to Kohl’s, Gass spent more than 16 years with Starbucks Corp. holding a variety of leadership roles across marketing, global strategy and merchandising, including president, Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa, overseeing and growing the company’s 1,900 owned and licensed store operations across the region. Gass has more than 25 years of experience in the retail and consumer goods industries.
She’s No. 146 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.
Michelle Gass, CEO, Kohl’s
Headquarters: Menomonee Falls, WI
Education: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (B.S.), University of Washington (MBA)
First joined company: 2013
Positions prior to being named CEO: Chief merchandising and customer officer
Named CEO: 2018