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Chawla exits Walgreens to become Kohl’s COO

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MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Sona Chawla has left Walgreens to join Kohl’s Corp. as chief operating officer, a new position.

She reports to chairman, president and chief executive officer Kevin Mansell.

Sona Chawla_Walgreens_headshot

Sona Chawla

Chawla, who had been president of digital and chief marketing officer at Walgreens, joined Kohl’s at the end of last month. She spent seven years with Walgreens in a variety of senior leadership roles including president of e-commerce.

At Kohl’s, she will have leadership responsibility for full omnichannel operations. She will oversee all store operations, 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,” said Mansell. “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.”

“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,” he added. “Sona will lead the seamless integration of all of our operations — from our stores to our website to all of our digital touch points 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.”

“Today’s retail customer expects conveniences that make shopping easier and more inspiring, no matter where or how they shop,” said Chawla. “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.”

Along with chief merchandising and customer officer Michelle Gass, Chawla is expected to be a potential candidate in the company’s long-term CEO succession planning.

During her tenure with Walgreens, 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 loyalty program, coupons and mobile payments in-store, and launching digital health coaching and telehealth.

“Seeing one of our leaders move on to even more success is an indication of the strength and depth of our senior management team,” said a Walgreens spokeswoman. “We will certainly miss Sona, her powerful voice on our executive team and her tremendous leadership in establishing Walgreens as a digital innovator in the retail ­industry.

“Sona led a team that developed the most downloaded app among brick-and-mortar retailers and the No. 3 app among all retailers. She established us as the top drug store retailer on social media in customer engagement and reach. And she led a host of other achievements in photo, pharmacy and across our business.”


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