, , ,

Kohl’s CEO Kevin Mansell Retiring In May

Mansell Stepping Down After 35 Years With Wisconsin-Based Retailer

Kohl's store
Charles Krupa/AP Photo

The CEO of the Wisconsin-based Kohl’s Corp. will retire in May.

Kevin Mansell has been with the Menomonee Falls-based retailer for 35 years, 18 of those as its president and the last nine as CEO.

When Mansell started with Kohl’s, the retailer had just a handful of stores in the greater Milwaukee area.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Today, it has more than 1,100 locations in 49 states. But, like other big retail chains, it’s also working to dig out of recent sales slumps.

Kohl’s has reconfigured many of its stores and cut retail floor space to help. Some stores now feature Amazon’s smart-home products, or allow customers to return their Amazon orders.

Brian Spaid, assistant professor of marketing at Marquette University, said the first job for Mansell’s successors will be to watch closely to “see if these smaller footprint stores are successful, see how the Amazon partnership works — not only the store-within-a-store, the technology centers, but also the product returns aspect. Is that actually building foot traffic to their stores?”

Kohl’s is hardly the only big retail chain trying to find a new path forward.

Spaid said Mansell deserves credit for making Kohl’s more nimble and responsive.

“Having the wherewithal to do those sorts of experiments, to really understand the buying patterns of consumers, that’s a really good trait to have that I’m not certain a lot of other retailers really will engage in at that level,” he said.

Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and marketing officer, will become the new CEO, and Chief Operating Officer Sona Chawla will be promoted to president.