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Activist pushes Kohl's to add retail experience to board

A photo of an outdoor walkway leading into a Kohl's store

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Macellum Capital Management is once again pushing Kohl's to shake up its board and add what the activist investor claims is much-needed retail experience, its CEO Jonathan Duskin tells Axios.

Why it matters: Barring some agreement with Kohl's that would replace some of the existing board with new directors, the move by Macellum is likely the first step in gearing up for another proxy contest next year.

Driving the news: Macellum sent a letter to Kohl's shareholders once again calling for changes to the board of directors.

Details: Duskin hopes the letter will mitigate a proxy contest and says he would be satisfied if he could replace four board members with candidates with retail experience.

  • Retail experience is key to helping Kohl's navigate complicated issues such as inventory management, especially at a time when retailers face so many macroeconomic headwinds, he says.
  • "We hope the board comes to its senses," Duskin says.

What they're saying: "We are disappointed that Macellum, only five months after Kohl’s shareholders reelected our entire slate of directors ... has launched a disruptive public campaign for the third time," states Kohl's in an email.

  • "These engagements have been unproductive and a distraction from running the business during a challenging retail environment."
  • "The board and management remain committed to maximizing value and acting in the interests of all our shareholders by staying focused on running the business," it adds.

Of note: Ancora, which was pushing for the removal of the chair and CEO, did not respond to a request for comment.

👀 What we're watching: How will investors, particularly institutional and fellow activists such as Ancora, respond to Macellum's latest salvo?

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