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In retail IT coup, Hudson's Bay poaches Kohl's CIO

Clint Boulton | Aug. 21, 2015
HBC’s hiring of Kohl’s CIO Janet Schalk touched off a legal skirmish that highlightis how competitive the battle for IT leaders has become. The case continues as Schalk settles into her new role.

But he says litigation to block CIOs is rare because they tend to hold high-level data about strategy rather than a lot of detailed information. “The CIO you don’t think of having a lot of specific product information or having client contacts, so because of that you’d be less likely to see [attempts to block them from moving],” Schoenstein says. He says that most noncompete litigation involves technical engineers with intimate knowledge of strategic products and services or marketing and sales leaders with knowledge of key contacts and customer data.

But he said companies may feel they have to sue firms who poached their CIOs because training such senior managers is expensive and time consuming. “I would be disturbed if a competitor poached people I had taught,” he says. To be sure, Schalk isn’t the first Kohl’s IT leader HBC has hired. Jon Nordeen worked as Kohls’ CIO from 2007 until 2011 before joining HBC as CIO in 2014. An HBC spokesperson said Nordeen remains as an IT advisor to for Schalk.

At Kohl’s, Schalk incorporated digital wallet functionality and a loyalty rewards program into a mobile application, overhauling the website, and implementing Oracle software to process inventory and pricing, according to CIO Journal. Previously, as a global IT leader at Target, she integrated systems of multiple chains from 2005 to 2008. She holds a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Chicago graduate school of business and a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and economics from Northwestern University.


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