Kohl’s Second Highest-Ranking Marketing Executive Resigns

By Patrick Coffee 

The number two marketing executive at Kohl’s–the 23rd largest overall retailer in the United States last year–has resigned with no official explanation.

Will Setliff spent just over two years as EVP of marketing at the chain, which currently works with Anomaly and scored some media attention earlier this year for replacing JC Penney as an Oscars sponsor and running a campaign that made use of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s famous 1997 acceptance speech. Kohl’s does not have an official agency of record at this time.

A company spokesperson wrote, “Will Setliff has announced his resignation from Kohl’s, effective this week. We thank Will for his many contributions to Kohl’s during his service and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Prior to joining Kohl’s in 2014, Setliff had served as CMO of Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden) and SVP of marketing at Target, a role that also included a stint as that chain’s interim CMO.

The Wisconsin-based Kohl’s made several other executive-level changes in February following what the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel called “lackluster sales in the fourth quarter“: SVP of communications Bevin Bailis, EVP/chief digital officer Krista Berry and SVP of store environment Paul Calderon were let go.

Kohl’s calls Setliff’s departure “consistent with HR policies” and says it has begun searching externally for his eventual replacement. His resignation does not necessarily predict an agency review. Last summer, the chain promoted former Starbucks executive Michelle Gass, who came onboard in 2013, to the newly-created position of CMCO; prior to that announcement Kohl’s had gone without a lead marketing executive for more than 14 months.

Setliff was the top candidate to succeed Gass at Kohl’s. His future plans are unclear.