Doug Howe, BSBA'86, Joins Kohl's as Chief Merchandising Officer
Doug Howe, BSBA'86, Joins Kohl's as Chief Merchandising Officer

It seemed like a good idea at the time. He was a senior at Creighton, not quite sure what he wanted to do post-graduation, and had the chance to travel to Saint Louis for a career assessment weekend organized by St. Louis University and offered through Creighton’s career center. Uncertain of what a career in retail would look like, he interviewed with May Department Stores.

It was the beginning of a 30-plus year retail career for Doug Howe, BSBA’86.

“What attracted me to this industry is the high level of autonomy I could enjoy and the fast-paced environment, as well as my passion for product development and ability to build talent for the future,” Howe says. “You can advance in your career but not necessarily on a predetermined career path.”

After graduating from Creighton with a double major in accounting and management, Howe and his wife, Cindy, moved to St. Louis where he worked for May, and the couple raised their two sons for the next 15 years. Since then, Howe has moved around quite a bit, relocating to Philadelphia (twice) to work for QVC; Bentonville, Arkansas as part of Walmart’s executive team; and San Francisco to head up product design for Gap Inc.’s Old Navy division.

Now, Milwaukee calls. Howe is about to assume his latest adventure in retail as chief merchandising officer at Kohl’s. He is excited to work for a company he describes as “highly innovative” and “invested heavily in technology and digital business.”

The overall discipline of business attracted him to business school as a teenager. Organizational design, the chance to develop talent and the challenge of managing people in a dynamic environment drew him to his management major.

 A “townie” from Council Bluffs, Iowa, Howe was nonetheless engaged in campus life as an undergraduate student. He met Cindy, a fellow accounting major, and served as president of business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi.

“Creighton was a welcoming, embracing environment that opened me up to new perspectives to realize how large the world really is,” Howe says. “It instilled discipline in its students and taught us to collaborate and be accepting of others.”

The University’s growth in recent years impresses Howe, who says that it “seems like a completely different place” in many ways. However, he says, “the sense of community and camaraderie among the faculty and the students is still very strong.”