10 Things You Didn’t Know about Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass

Michelle Gass is the current CEO of Kohl’s Corporation, which is responsible for running the chain of department stores of the same name. As such, Gass has been named one of the most powerful women of the business world by Fortune. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Michelle Gass: (link as of 4/10/2019)

1. Michelle Means “Who Is Like God?”

Technically, Michelle is the French feminine version of Michael, which means “Who Is Like God?” The question mark is important because the name is meant to be rhetorical in nature, meaning that no one is like God. Regardless, feminine versions of Michael are very common, as shown by examples including but not limited to Michaela, Mikayla, and Michalina.

2. Gass Can Be a Topographic Name

Sometimes, Gass is a topographic name, referring to someone who lived in a street in some kind of settlement. However, it can be derived from Gash as well, which is a very old English surname that comes from a word meaning “to go.”

3. Has a Bachelor of Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Education-wise, Gass has a Bachleor of Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which can be found in, well, the city of Worcester in the state of Massachusetts. Primarily, the school is famous for specializing in the applied arts as well as the technical sciences.

4. Has a MBA from University of Washington

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gass has a MBA as well, which is a common choice for people in the higher ranks of management. After all, a MBA is a Master of Business Administration, meaning that it is the most relevant option for people who are interested in that kind of thing.

5. Used to Be at Starbucks

Gass had roles at a number of other companies before she went over to Kohl’s Corporation. For example, there was Starbucks, where she played an important role in turning the Frappuccino from a two-flavor product into the full-fledged product that exists in the present.

6. Used to Be Chief Merchandising and Customer Officer

At Kohl’s Corporation, Gass was the Chief Merchandising and Customer Officer before becoming the CEO. Chief Merchandising Officers are the ones in charge of purchasing as well as merchandising products. Meanwhile, Chief Customer Officers are the ones responsible for overseeing the corporation’s relationship with its customers, which can be very important for companies that revolve around their customers. As executive positions go, Chief Customer Officers are a relatively new concept that have become more and more popular in recent times.

7. Became CEO in May of 2018

Speaking of which, Gass is a relatively new CEO, seeing as how she became the CEO of Kohl’s Corporation in May of 2018. With that said, it wasn’t too long before Fortune named her to its list of the most powerful women in business, which happened in November of 2018.

8. Overseeing a Number of Initiatives

It isn’t uncommon for CEOs to oversee initiatives meant to improve the performance of corporations in a significant manner. Sometimes, they will focus on single major initiative. Other times, they will oversee a number of them at the same time, which is the case with Gass.

9. Overseeing Loyalty Effort

For instance, Gass is overseeing an effort to strengthen the loyalty of Kohl’s customer base, which is a huge concern for chains of department stores. After all, loyal customers mean customers who are more willing to buy products from the department store, which can mean not just increased revenues but also more efficiently-earned revenues because of the reduced effort needed to make the sale. As a result, there is a reason that retailers are so fond of customer loyalty programs that incentivize consumers to come back to them again and again.

10. Overseeing Speed to Market Effort

Another example is Gass’s effort to improve speed to market, which is another important consideration for retailers. Simply put, the demand for products is something that can change with surprising speed, meaning that businesses need to be prepared to respond to such changes. Improved speed to market means that a business can get its products ready for sale sooner rather than later, thus enabling it to capitalize on lucrative opportunities that could shut them out if they are too slow to move.


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