Retail

Kohl's strikes deal with activists, plans to name three new directors to its board

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Key Points
  • Kohl's said it has come to an agreement with a group of activist investors who have been pushing to seize control of the retailer's board.
  • Two new independent directors that were nominated by the investors, Margaret Jenkins and Thomas Kingsbury, will join Kohl's board at the close of its 2021 annual shareholders meeting, it said.
  • Kohl's also named Christine Day, the former CEO of Lululemon, to its board.
  • The company also boosted its share buyback plan to $2 billion.

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Customers leave a Kohl's store on November 12, 2015 in San Rafael, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Kohl's said Wednesday it has reached an agreement with a group of activist investors who have been pushing to seize control of the retailer's board.

Two new independent directors that were nominated by the investors, Margaret Jenkins and Thomas Kingsbury, will join Kohl's board at the close of its 2021 annual shareholders meeting, it said. Jenkins was previously chief marketing officer of the restaurant chains Denny's and El Pollo Loco, and Kingsbury previously served as the CEO of Burlington Stores.

Kohl's, with support from the investors, will also name an additional independent director, Christine Day. Day served as CEO of the athletic apparel chain Lululemon from 2008 to 2013.

The group of investors — Macellum Advisors, Ancora Holdings, Legion Partners Asset Management and 4010 Capital — has a combined 9.5% stake in Kohl's.

The activists originally nominated nine candidates to Kohl's board, but last month reduced that figure to five. The investors have been arguing for Kohl's to slash its executive compensation, cull inventory levels and consider selling some of its noncore real estate.

"We are pleased to have been able to reach this constructive resolution with the company, and we are confident these changes will help further our shared goal of creating long-term value for shareholders," the group said in a statement Wednesday.

Kohl's said it has received notice from current board member Steve Burd that he will retire at the end of August. Frank Sica, the current chair, is expected to retire next year.

Kohl's has also expanded its share buyback plan to $2 billion.

Its shares rose more than 1% in early trading. Kohl's stock is up nearly 50% year to date. The company has a market cap of $9.7 billion, which has grown to be larger than Macy's and Nordstrom's.

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