Kohl’s says two top executives are leaving, as company seeks buyer

Vehicles sit parked in front of a Kohl’s department store in Ashland, Ky.Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesKohl’s said Wednesday that it is losing two of its top executives, as the retailer searches for a potential buyer amid pressure from activists to sell the business.Doug Howe, Kohl’s chief merchandising officer, is departing immediately, the retailer said in a securities filing. Greg Revelle, chief marketing officer, is expected to depart June 1.Kohl’s shares fell more than 4% in extended trading.The company said Howe and Revelle were leaving to pursue opportunities elsewhere.”A search for the replacements is already underway,” Kohl’s said. “In the meantime, we have a deep bench of marketing and merchandising talent that will ensure the continued execution of our strategies.”The filing comes the night before Kohl’s is set to report its fiscal first-quarter earnings ahead of the market open on Thursday.The report will be widely watched, for a number of reasons. For one, Kohl’s has been facing ample pressure from activist investors in recent months to overhaul its board of directors and to find a new buyer.Just last week, Kohl’s shareholders voted to reelect the company’s current slate of 13 board directors, trumping Macellum Advisors’ proposal for a new slate of people. But Macellum responded that it will still be holding Kohl’s accountable for its decisions in the months ahead. Chiefly, the activist firm wants the retailer to find a new buyer, arguing that current Kohl’s Chief Executive Officer Michelle Gass hasn’t done enough to grow sales.Kohl’s has been working with bankers at Goldman Sachs to evaluate bids. Earlier this year, it rejected a proposal from Starboard-backed Acacia Research, at $64 per share, that was deemed to be too low. Kohl’s shares closed Wednesday down 11% at $43.13.

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