Levi Strauss & Co.'s current President, Michelle Gass, will become the company’s next CEO on Jan. 29.
Gass exited as Kohl's CEO late last year to join Levi’s in January. The apparel retailer announced the planned chief executive transition at that time. In a Thursday announcement, the company also said that former president and current CEO Chip Bergh will retire on April 26.
Additionally, Levi’s board elected Bergh as executive vice chairperson until his retirement. After that, Bergh will serve as a senior advisor until the end of the company’s 2024 fiscal year.
Since joining the company, Gass has led the Levi’s brand, including its product, merchandising and marketing, along with the company’s digital and global commercial operations. Gass has also focused on accelerating international growth, positioning the Levi’s brand as a full denim lifestyle apparel business, and transitioning the company’s operating model to a DTC-first organization.
“In the past year, Chip and I have traveled the globe, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting many members of the LS&Co. team,” Gass said. “Those interactions have only underscored my confidence in the incredible potential of our business, the strength of our brands and the power of the company’s values-driven, profits-through-principles approach.”
Gass helped guide Kohl’s through the height of the pandemic, improved its assortments and store format, and oversaw partnerships with Sephora and Amazon. Under her watch, Sephora opened store-in-stores at Kohl’s and the retailer also began a partnership with Amazon where Kohl’s locations began accepting the e-commerce giant’s customer returns. Although Kohl’s is still struggling financially, an analyst told Retail Dive last year that Gass deserves credit for leading the company through a difficult time for the retail industry.
Gass currently serves on PepsiCo’s board of directors. She also held leadership roles at women’s specialty retailer Ann Inc., at Starbucks, and at Procter & Gamble, according to her LinkedIn.
Levi Strauss & Co.’s brand portfolio includes Dockers, Denizen and Beyond Yoga. Its products are sold worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites and about 3,200 brand-dedicated stores and shop-in-shops. The company reported net revenues of $6.2 billion in 2022.
During his tenure, the company said Bergh helped Levi’s pivot from a predominantly men’s U.S. wholesale bottoms business to a global, DTC-driven one. In addition to reinvigorating its women's business, Bergh oversaw some big initiatives, including entering a $220 million naming rights deal for Levi’s Stadium, which is the home venue for the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers. Levi’s also returned to the public markets with a successful IPO in 2019. The company’s most recent expansion to its brand portfolio came in 2021 with the acquisition of Beyond Yoga.