Activist Investor Ancora Looks to Oust Kohl’s CEO, Chairman


Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass discussed moves by the retailer this summer.



Photo:

Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK/REUTERS

Ancora Holdings Inc., the activist investor that helped get three directors installed on the board of

Kohl’s Corp.


KSS -0.72%

last year, is now trying to have the retailer’s chairman and chief executive removed.

In a letter to the Kohl’s board Thursday, Ancora said the retailer needs new leadership following a slow recovery from the pandemic, plunging profits and the scrapping of a potential sale to

Franchise Group Inc.


FRG -2.88%

Ancora’s letter recommends the replacement of

Michelle Gass,

chief executive of the company since 2018, and

Peter Boneparth,

who became chairman earlier this year but has been on the board since 2008.

“During the Boneparth era, the board has created an environment in which Ms. Gass is no longer well-positioned to lead,” the letter said.

Ancora takes particular issue with the board’s decision to reject multiple offers for a sale this year for being too low, including a $9 billion takeover offer that would have supplied investors with $64 a share in cash.

The department-store chain’s actions in the months that followed, as choppiness in the financing markets suppressed deal making, have destroyed billions of dollars in shareholder value and “painted the company into a corner,” Ancora said.

A representative for Kohl’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Write to Dean Seal at dean.seal@wsj.com

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