Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell to retire next year

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Customers leave the Kohl's store in Westminster, Colorado August 14, 2008. (Reuters)

Sept 26 (Reuters) - Department store operator Kohl's Corp said on Tuesday long-time Chief Executive Kevin Mansell would retire in May, and would be succeeded by Chief Merchandising Officer Michelle Gass.

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Gass joined Kohl's in 2013 and has been instrumental in launching new product categories and adding partners and brands.

She played key roles in bringing Under Armour into the company's stores this year and also the recently announced partnerships with Amazon.com, the company said.

Gass had earlier worked with Starbucks and Procter & Gamble.

Kohl's is the latest U.S. department store operator to promote its merchandising chief to the top job.

Last year, bigger rival Macy's Inc named its president and former chief merchandising officer, Jeff Gennette, as its CEO, succeeding retail veteran Terry Lundgren.

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Mansell, a 35-year veteran at Kohl's, has been the CEO since August 2008. "The retail industry is going through a transformational amount of change and Michelle is extremely well qualified and positioned to lead Kohl's through this evolution," Mansell said in a statement.

Kohl's said this month it would accept returns of select items bought from Amazon and sell Amazon devices at some stores in Los Angeles and Chicago, as it looks to drive traffic to its stores to boost sagging sales.

Kohl's Chief Operating Officer Sona Chawla will succeed Mansell as the company's president.

The retailer's shares were up marginally at $46.48 in early trading.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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