Kohl’s has named Tom Kingsbury as CEO, effective Thursday. The executive has served as interim CEO since former chief Michelle Gass left the role in early December to join Levi Strauss & Co. as president and CEO-in-waiting.
Board chair Peter Boneparth praised Kingsbury’s “exceptional track record” in retail and at Kohl’s. Kingsbury joined the Kohl’s board in 2021 as part of an agreement with Kohl’s activist investor Macellum. He also previously served as the president and CEO of Burlington Stores, Inc. until 2019 and currently serves on the board of Tractor Supply Company, BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. and Big Lots, Inc.
“This is a pivotal time for Kohl’s, and I am excited and energized to work with our talented team to elevate our performance and create value,” Kingsbury said in a statement. “During the last few months, I have seen the passion and dedication of the Kohl’s team and the unique value we can bring to our customers nationwide. I look forward to partnering with the Board and leadership team to build on our strengths and deliver on our strategy for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”
Kohl’s also said the the company has entered into a “cooperation agreement” Macellum, which owns nearly 5% of shares at Kohl’s and has previously asked the company to consider taking an offer to sell its business and to put a Macellum representative on the board.
“We are very excited about the future of Kohl’s under the leadership of Tom and have the utmost confidence in his ability to maximize shareholder value,” said managing member of Macellum Jonathan Duskin in a statement.
Kingsbury officially takes the helm of Kohl’s a week after the retailer cut less than 60 positions across the company as it grapples with softer demand due to inflation. In November, Kohl’s pulled its guidance for the full year and did not share projections for Q4, citing “macroeconomic headwinds” and its recent CEO transition. Kohl’s also downgraded its outlook in August citing inflation and weaker consumer spending, especially among middle-income customers.