Kohl’s Shakes Up Leadership: Is The Greatness Agenda In Trouble?

As Kohl’s continues to fight the battles of declining sales and decreasing store traffic that plague many of its department store counterparts, the retailer has decided to take steps to make cutbacks to its organization at the executive level.

Kohl’s has parted ways with three members of its senior leadership team:

  • Krista Berry, EVP and Chief Digital Officer;

  • Bevin Bailis, SVP for Communications and Public Relations; and


  • Paul Calderon, SVP for Store Environment.


The three positions will not be filled, according to Kohl’s spokesperson Jen Johnson. In a statement, Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that eliminating the positions is designed to make Kohl’s “a faster, more agile organization.”

An internal email to Kohl’s employees from company CEO Kevin Mansell indicated that the retailer is “not getting to the results we want as fast as we should.”

With slow sales growth in 2015 and profits that “fell far short of plan,” Kohl’s appears to be seeking out reasons for the internal failures. However, with the company laying out a plan to increase sales from $19 billion in 2015 to $21 billion in 2017, the firings wouldn’t make a large dent in the overall cost cutting measure.

If anything, the firings seem like very reactive decisions to combat the somber annual results, as opposed to actions that would fit the mold of the “Greatness Agenda” Kohl’s kick started in late 2014. The long term strategic framework was fortified by the introduction of the retailer’s Yes2You Rewards loyalty program, and was initially designed to drive accelerated growth throughout the company.

However, Kohl’s earlier this year internally discussed going private or even breaking up the company, showing that the retailer may have different plans for the direction of its Greatness Agenda after all.

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