Gass will initially join the Levi Strauss management team to the newly created position of president in which she will be responsible for leading the Levi’s® brand and the company’s global digital and commercial operations. 

The changes are effective 2 January Levi Strauss & Co (LS&Co), said.

With this announcement, the board of directors has put in motion a succession plan for Gass to succeed Bergh as CEO within the next 18 months.

“We are delighted that an executive with Michelle’s background, experience and stature is joining as president to work side-by-side with Chip for a meaningful transition period before becoming CEO,” said Bob Eckert, chairman of the LS&Co board of directors.

“Michelle’s deep retail and omni-channel experience combined with her track record of building brands and meaningful innovation is a perfect fit for the skills needed to lead this company for the long term and create significant value for our stakeholders.”

The denim brand says Gass will bring exceptional direct-to-consumer experience to Levi Strauss & Co, having led the transformation strategy at Kohl’s to position the company for long-term profitable growth.

Chip Bergh, president and CEO at Levi Strauss & Co said : “One of my biggest legacies at LS&Co. will be my successor, passing the baton to someone who will take the company to the next level. I am thrilled not just about Michelle being my successor, but also about having the chance to work closely together during the transition.”

Gass has an MBA from the University of Washington, Michael G. Foster School of Business, and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In addition to serving on the PepsiCo. Board of Directors, she is also on the Board of the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation. She previously served on the Cigna and Ann Inc. Boards of Directors.

“I am thrilled to join Levi Strauss & Co, with its iconic brands, incredible team and unwavering commitment to corporate citizenship,” Gass said. “With the Levi’s brand stronger than ever, Dockers reinvigorated and the Beyond Yoga acquisition expanding the company’s addressable market, I look forward to working alongside Chip and his talented team to realise the incredible potential for the business in the years to come.”

Last month, Levi Strauss & Co joined forces with Walmart Inc, Orsted, Schneider Electric and others on an investment project for renewable wind energy it said will allow the brand to meet its long-term energy goals.