5 things to know about the man who is likely to become Kohl’s next CEO


Thomas Kingsbury photo
Thomas Kingsbury

Menomonee Falls, Wis. – Kohl’s is reportedly close to announcing its new CEO.

Interim CEO  Thomas Kingsbury is in “late-stage” conversations with Kohl’s about taking on the position permanently, according to reports from Reuters and the New York Times.

Here are 5 fast facts about Kingsbury and his associations with Kohl’s:


Kingsbury joined Kohl’s board of directors in April 2021 when the retailer was settling a tussle with activist investor Macellum, which had sought a complete shake-up of the board. He was appointed interim CEO just 9 weeks ago when then-CEO Michelle Gass left the company to take a position at Levi Strauss.


This isn’t his first rodeo with Kohl’s. Kingsbury joined Kohl’s leadership team in 2006 in a newly created senior executive VP position. The role made him 1 of 3 company principals along with the then-president and the then-COO. He oversaw marketing, business development, e-commerce and information technology.


He left Kohl’s in 2008 to become president and CEO of off-pricer Burlington Stores, which at the time was owned by Bain Capital. The company went public in 2013 and operated more than 500 stores. When Kingsbury stepped down as CEO in September 2019, Burlington had expanded to 691 units. (It now has 893 stores.)


Kingsbury spent the first 3 decades of his career rising through the ranks in several divisions of the former May Department Stores Company, beginning as a merchant at Famous Barr in St. Louis. During his final 7 years at May, he was president and CEO of Filene’s/Kaufmann’s, the company’s largest division at the time.


In addition to his directorship at Kohl’s, Kingsbury also sits on the boards of directors at Big Lots, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Tractor Supply Company.


During the company’s Q3 investor call in November, board chairman Peter Boneparth outlined the qualities Kohl’s is seeking in its new chief executive.

“Kohl’s has always been known for brands, value and convenience, so it’s important that we land a candidate that has great brand-building experience, understands our go-to-market value proposition and has deep omni channel experience,” he said.

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