Kohl's CEO Planning Management Shuffle
• "Mr. Mansell is planning a management shuffle, according to a person familiar with the matter. And he is also scouting for a new chief merchant who would be a candidate to ultimately succeed him, people familiar with the matter said."
• "The CEO is seeking to boost growth when the retail industry is struggling with budget-conscious shoppers who are increasingly turning to the Internet for everyday purchases."
• "Kohl's board is looking for Mr. Mansell, 61 years old, to demonstrate progress on those fronts at a board meeting Wednesday, the day before Kohl's reports first-quarter earnings. At that session, he is expected to describe plans for a broader management reorganization, said a person familiar with the situation."
• "In April, Kohl's lost its chief merchandising officer, Donald Brennan, who joined the company in 2001 and was promoted to chief merchant in 2010 but had received a weak performance grade, according to regulatory filings. Mr. Mansell has been personally sounding out candidates for the chief merchant's job with an eye to having them eventually succeed him as CEO, several people familiar with the situation said."
• "Mr. Mansell has reached out to Brendan Hoffman, who earlier this year said he plans to leave his post as CEO of Bon-Ton Stores Inc. when his contract expires in February, these people said. Mr. Hoffman is unlikely to take the job since it wouldn't immediately place him in a CEO role, one of the people said."
Takeaway From Hedgeye’s Brian McGough:
This tells us that there's now three potential top jobs open at mega-US retailers: Target, JC Penney, and Kohl's. The pool of candidates is not huge, but there are some heavyweights. There's Roger Farah, who has only two weeks left at Ralph Lauren, Bill McComb, who is currently on vacation after turning the dog that was Liz Claiborne into the hyper-growth Kate Spade. And there’s Vanessa Castagna, who was the underappreciated architect of the Eckerd-era turnaround at JC Penney over a decade ago. Let's also not forget Glenn Murphy from Gap. The fact of the matter is that he is a far better CEO than a company like Gap probably deserves. He's done a great job fixing the company, and at age 51 -- has a much bigger and better job left in him.
*Watch Brian McGough on HedgeyeTV explain one key point in his bearish thesis on Kohl’s.
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Editor's Note: This is a complimentary research excerpt from Hedgeye Retail Sector Head Brian McGough. Follow McGough on Twitter @HedgeyeRetail.