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Shuffle Board: Gass Leaves Kohl’s for Levi’s, CEO Moves at Adidas and Puma, True Religion Gets Women’s SVP



Kohl’s Corporation announced that CEO Michelle Gass plans to step down as CEO and member of the Kohl’s board of directors, effective Dec. 2, to become president of Levi Strauss & Co,

The board appointed Tom Kingsbury to serve as interim CEO from Dec. 2 until a permanent successor is named. The board also formed a committee led by Michael Bender and including Christine Day, Margaret Jenkins, Peter Boneparth and Tom Kingsbury to oversee the search for a new CEO.

A Kohl’s director since 2021, Kingsbury’s career includes senior positions at leading retailers, including president and CEO of Burlington Stores, and senior executive vice president of Kohl’s. He is currently a director of Tractor Supply Company, BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings and Big Lots Inc.

Big Lots

Big Lots Inc., one of America’s largest home discount retailers, appointed of two new members of its leadership team.

Margarita Giannantonio was named chief merchandising officer and John Alpaugh has joined Big Lots as chief marketing officer. Giannantonio will be responsible for shaping and leading the company’s merchandising strategy across all product categories, reporting to Bruce Thorn, president and CEO of Big Lots.

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She spent the last decade with TJX, most recently a senior vice president and general merchandise manager of TJX Canada.

Alpaugh is responsible for managing the company’s brand and marketing strategies and executions. Alpaugh has joined the executive leadership team, also reporting to Thorn. Most recently, he was CEO of CyberMark, a digital marketing solutions provider to multi-location businesses, before successfully selling the company in June.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Big Lots operates more than 1,440 stores in 48 states, as well as an e-commerce platform with expanded fulfillment and delivery capabilities.


Gap Inc. announced that Richard Dickson was elected to the Gap Inc. board of directors.

Dickson serves as president and chief operating officer of Mattel, a global toy company. Prior to Mattel, Dickson was president and CEO of branded businesses for The Jones Group fashion brands, where he led global design and development, including marketing and merchandising, wholesale, retail and e-commerce.

Bed, Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond named Bart Sichel as executive vice president, chief marketing and customer officer.

Sichel will oversee integrated marketing and customer strategies for Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as its BuyBuy Baby and Harmon brands. He served as chief marketing officer at Burlington Stores for eight years, and prior to that he spent 13 years with McKinsey & Company, which among other things specializes in corporate restructuring and transformation.


Lululemon Athletica Inc. announced the appointment of Isabel Ge Mahe to serve on its board of directors.

Ge Mahe is vice president and managing director of Greater China for Apple, helping in developing new China-specific features for Apple products. She has served on the board of Starbucks since 2019.


Francesca’s Acquisition LLC, a specialty retailer operating a nationwide chain of Francesca’s and Franki by Francesca’s boutiques, appointed Teresa Baker as executive vice president (EVP) and chief financial officer (CFO).

Baker has held various finance and operations roles, including working as CFO and chief operating officer at Colorado Group, an Australian retailer with more than 450 retail stores and outlets across multiple brands.

She most recently served as CFO for Hollar, an online dollar store, and then as CFO for Carbon38, which focuses on women’s activewear. Curt Kroll, Interim CFO, will continue to support Francesca’s until the end of the fiscal year and provide transitional support as necessary.


Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss & Co. announced leadership changes in its executive team with the appointment of Michelle Gass to the new position of president, LS&Co., reporting to Chip Bergh, president & CEO.

Gass will be responsible for leading the Levi’s brand and the company’s global digital and commercial operations. With this announcement, the board of directors has put in motion a succession plan for Gass to succeed Bergh as CEO within the next 18 months. Gass will begin her role with the company on Jan. 2 and is expected to join the LS&Co. board of directors on her start date.

Gass brings direct-to-consumer experience to LS&Co., having led the transformation strategy at Kohl’s aiming to position the company for long-term profitable growth. She has driven a significant reinvention effort for more than 1,100 Kohl’s stores, while growing the digital business at a double-digit compounded annual growth rate to more than $6 billion.

LS&Co. designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co., Denizen, Dockers and Beyond Yoga brands. Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites, and a global footprint of approximately 3,100 retail stores and shop-in-shops. Levi Strauss & Co.’s reported 2021 net revenues were $5.8 billion.


Bjørn Gulden was confirmed as CEO of Adidas, effective Jan. 1.

Gulden, who stepped down as CEO of rival Puma last week, will also be a member of the Adidas executive board. Outgoing Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted left the company on Nov. 11 after initially announcing plans to step down next year.

Adidas AG chief financial officer Harm Ohlmeyer will lead the company in the interim until Dec. 31. The 57-year-old Gulden had been CEO of Puma since 2013, but is making a long-awaited return to Adidas, where he served as senior vice president of apparel and accessories from 1992-1999.


The supervisory board of Puma SE appointed Arne Freundt as chairman of the management board and CEO of the company.

Freundt is receiving a contract for four years, effective Jan. 1. He has worked for Puma for more than 10 years and has been a member of the management board as chief commercial officer since June 2021.

He succeeds Gulden, whose mandate as member of the management board of Puma expires at the end of 2022, when he will become CEO of Adidas.

Canada Goose

Jess Johannson

Canada Goose appointed Jess Johannson as chief human resources officer.

In this role, she will be responsible for driving the company’s human resources strategy across its corporate, manufacturing and retail teams. Johannson will oversee all global teams within HR, including talent acquisition, employee experience, training and global policy.

Johannson joins Canada Goose from Tucows, an Internet services and telecommunications company headquartered in Toronto, where she served as chief people officer.

Delta Apparel

Delta Apparel Inc. announced the addition of Jason Bates as vice president of finance of its Delta Group business segment.

Bates most recently served as director of business planning and analysis, and commercial finance at Interface Inc., a global flooring company specializing in carbon neutral carpet tile and resilient flooring.

Delta Apparel, along with its operating subsidiaries, DTG2Go, Salt Life and M.J. Soffe, is a vertically integrated, international apparel company that designs, manufactures, sources and markets core activewear and lifestyle apparel products under the primary brands of Salt Life, Soffe and Delta.

True Religion

True Religion, an American denim and sportswear brand, appointed Tina Blake as senior vice president of women’s design and brand image.

This new role, reporting to CEO Michael Buckley, is a key component to True Religion’s expanded women’s merchandise strategy to drive incremental revenue and new customer acquisition. Blake will oversee all women’s product and brand image and work closely with creative director Zihaad Wells. She will lead women’s initiatives and create a consistent brand identity across all aspects of the women’s business, including marketing, advertising, customer communications, social media, e-commerce and stores.

Blake joins True Religion from Techstyle Fashion Group where, as vice president of design and operations for global fashion brands, she managed design, product development and technical design teams for JustFab and ShoeDazzle brands in North America and Europe.

Under Armour

Under Armour Inc. announced that Wes Moore stepped down from its board of directors due to his election as governor of the state of Maryland.

Moore, the former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, joined the board in October 2020 and served as a member of the Corporate Governance and Sustainability Committee.


Cocona Labs

Cocona Labs, the maker of temperature-regulating 37.5 Technology, brought Christopher Leyes back on board as its chief operations officer (COO).

Leyes returns to the company after most recently serving as the director of operations at Pangea Organics. He worked with Cocona Inc. in the company’s early years as vice president of finance and operations from 2006 to 2010 and returned as the COO and chief financial officer from 2013 to 2018.

Created by Cocona Labs, 37.5 Technology utilizes natural volcanic minerals that are permanently incorporated into fabrics, insulations, foams, and laminates. Materials made with 37.5 Technology offer sustainability benefits throughout the product lifecycle and are used across an array of industries, including apparel, footwear, bedding and home goods. Cocona Labs is headquartered in Boulder, Colo.


Federal Maritime Commission

Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) chairman Daniel B. Maffei announced that Phillip C. Hughey was hired as general counsel and appointed to be a member of the senior executive service.

In this capacity, Hughey will provide legal advice and recommendations to the chairman and commissioners on regulatory and policy matters. He will serve as a member of the agency’s senior management team and will also be responsible for supervising the work of attorneys assigned to the Office of the General Counsel.

Hughey assumes his new role at the FMC following a 10-year career in the U.S. Department of State as a foreign service officer, where his postings included Brazil, Kuwait and Madagascar.


The United Nations secretary-general announced the appointment of Pedro Manuel Moreno of Spain as deputy secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

He joined UNCTAD in September 2021 as director of the Office of the Secretary-General and chief of staff.



Bluecore, a retail marketing technology company utilized by retailers to transform data into authentic shopper experiences, appointed Pat Deskin as chief revenue officer (CRO).

Deskin joins Bluecore following the recent expansion of the company’s technology into mobile. Deskin previously served as executive vice president of sales at Salsify.

As the company’s first CRO, Deskin will lead efforts to drive retailer adoption of Bluecore’s technology. He will build a team dedicated to transforming the way that Bluecore’s customers approach digital marketing.

Deskin’s appointment as CRO further expands Bluecore’s executive team. In March 2022, the company announced Sherene Hilal as Chief Product Officer (CPO), Ryan Deutsch as Chief Customer Officer (CCO), and Arvind Krishnan as SVP of Engineering.