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Kohl’s New COO Sona Chawla Could Be Next CEO

Kohl’s on Tuesday announced that Sona Chawla had been appointed to the newly created position of chief operating officer and hinted that the former Walgreens exec could succeed current CEO Kevin Mansell.

Chawla will slip into her new role on Nov. 30 to oversee all store operations, the logistics and supply chain network, information and digital technology, e-commerce strategy, planning and operations, and store construction and design.

“The search for this role has been exhaustive and dynamic,” Mansell, who also serves as chairman and president, said in a statement. “As our future vision for Kohl’s developed under our Greatness Agenda, the search for this role dramatically evolved. We saw an enormous opportunity to create something truly unique in retail—a leader that has oversight for the full omnichannel experience. When stores, online and digital teams are not just compatible but truly integrated, new thinking and new ways of delivering a seamless customer experience emerge.”

Prior to this appointment, Chawla spent seven years at Walgreens in a variety of leadership roles, most recently as president of digital and chief marketing officer. She spearheaded the drugstore chain’s transition to seamless shopping through the integration of its loyalty program, coupons and mobile payments in store, among other digital innovations.

“We’ve never been more clear about the future of the company or the types of leaders that we need in place to deliver against our vision and Sona is exactly the right leader to join us,” Mansell continued. “Her depth of experience in retail and her understanding of how to fully integrate technology and e-commerce into a retail experience will help Kohl’s elevate our customer conveniences across all channels.”

“Today’s retail customer expects conveniences that make shopping easier and more inspiring, no matter where or how they shop. Kohl’s Greatness Agenda has set the strategic framework in place for the company to deliver a truly compelling and engaging shopping experience in-store, online and across digital devices. I’m thrilled to be part of the bright future at Kohl’s,” Chawla said.

Her hat isn’t the only one in the ring for CEO. Michelle Gass, chief merchandising and customer officer, has also been named as a potential candidate for the top position.