Skip to main content

Kohl’s names Walgreen exec new COO, maybe CEO


Kohl’s has named Walgreens' former digital and chief marketing officer to the newly created role of chief operating officer and indicated she could eventually replace Kevin Mansell as CEO.

Kohl’s named Sona Chawla to the newly created position of COO, which might as well stand for chief omnichannel officer given her range of responsibilities and most recent experience at Walgreens. She will report directly to Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO Kevin Mansell.

Chawla will join Kohl’s on Nov. 30 with responsibility for Kohl’s full omnichannel operations, store operations, logistics and supply chain network, information and digital technology, e-commerce strategy, planning and operations, and store construction and design. Her hiring is the result of a search that Mansell described as exhaustive and dynamic.

“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,” Mansell said. “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 joining Kohl’s, Chawla spent seven years with Walgreens in a variety of senior leadership roles including president of e-commerce. Most recently, Chawla was president of digital and chief marketing officer. Prior to joining Walgreens, she was vice president of global online business at Dell, Inc., and before Dell she worked at Wells Fargo’s Internet Services Group and Andersen Consulting and Mitchell Madison Group.

During her tenure with Walgreens, Kohl’s said Chawla led a team responsible for developing industry-leading digital innovations that significantly enhanced core aspects of the company’s customer experience such as refilling prescriptions in seconds, printing photos from smartphones directly to stores, enabling seamless shopping through the integration of the Walgreens loyalty program, coupons and mobile payments in store and launching digital health coaching and telehealth.

“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 said. “(She) will lead the seamless integration of all of our operations – from our stores to our website to all of our digital touchpoints with our customers. 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.”

Even before she begins at Kohl’s, the company is mentioning her along with chief merchandising and customer officer Michelle Gass as potential successors to long-time CEO Mansell.

Kohl’s operates 1,166 stores in 49 states.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds