Kohl’s CMO to exit as retailer pursues sale

Kohl's CMO of five years, Greg Revelle, will leave the business next month as Kohl's looks for a buyer.

Kohl’s CMO to exit as retailer pursues sale

As Kohl’s looks for a buyer for its business, the company said that Chief Marketing Officer Greg Revelle would be departing next month. The Wisconsin-based retailer announced his departure in a financial filing on Wednesday. Revelle, who first joined Kohl’s in 2017 after a stint as CMO of Best Buy, will exit on June 1. Chief Merchandising Officer Doug Howe is also leaving the business, effective immediately, the filing noted.

"After five years with Kohl's, Greg Revelle has decided to leave Kohl's to pursue other opportunities. We thank Greg for his contributions and wish him all the best in his future endeavors," a spokeswoman said in a statement Thursday. Kohl's said that Christie Raymond, who is currently marketing executive VP of customer engagement, media and analytics, will serve as interim CMO.

The personnel news comes as Kohl’s faces investor calls to pursue a sale. It has received an offer from real estate owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, which owns rival JC Penney.

Kohl’s also reported earnings on Thursday. Like many of its retail competitors, its sales are beginning to sour as shoppers shy away from rising prices. Target reported earnings below expectations this week. For the first quarter, Kohl’s reported a 5.2% decline in net sales to $3.7 billion.

"The departure of two key executives in merchandising and marketing is, in our view, Kohl’s attempt at a sacrificial offering to appease investors," wrote Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, in a research note about Kohl's earnings report. "It sends a message that management knows things aren’t quite right and wants to make changes." Yet he cautioned that personnel replacement alone is not the answer. "A holistic change in mindset is needed," Saunders wrote.

On an earnings call with analysts, Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass addressed the changes and noted that search firms for replacements have been engaged and that a search is underway.

"As we continue to drive our strategy forward, we will use this opportunity to identify new talented leaders to enhance our capabilities and accelerate our transformation," she said.