Jump to Content
Transform with Google Cloud

In the Clouds with… Kohl's Paul Gaffney: "Cloud compute and data is our future"

April 28, 2022
Jo Maitland

Editor, Transform with Google Cloud

Welcome to our new column “In the Clouds with…” We'll be hearing from IT leaders about what keeps them up at night and their secrets to success.

Why Google Cloud?

Get unmatched cloud technology built on Google’s infrastructure.

Learn more

Paul Gaffney is the chief technology and supply chain officer for Kohl’s. In his role, Gaffney is responsible for oversight of all technology, information, and digital platforms supporting Kohl’s omnichannel business, and the company’s distribution, logistics, and inventory management. Since joining Kohl’s in 2019, he has championed the company’s digital and supply chain transformation to better serve customers and fuel business growth.

With over 25 years of industry experience, Gaffney has held a number of technology leadership roles. He previously served as chief technology officer of Dick’s Sporting Goods, where he led the company’s digital transformation, and senior vice president of information technology at The Home Depot, where he was responsible for the organization’s software engineering, user-centered design, and applications. Gaffney has also held general management leadership roles at Staples, Office Depot, and AAA of Northern California, Nevada & Utah.

Big Six:

1. What business challenge is keeping you up at night? 

Talent—particularly modern software people—attracting and retaining them.

2. How deeply is your company invested in cloud? What about in five years? 

Cloud compute and data is our future. We're well on our way, but not completely there yet. 

3. Tech has always faced talent challenges, from scarcity to diversity. What’s your advice for recruiting top talent in today’s climate?

Create a great place to be a tech professional. We want to give them autonomy and modern tools and an environment where they can create real value and ship to production all the time.

4. What are the two biggest technologies that will impact 1) your industry, and 2) the world in the next decade (and why)?

For our industry, machine-decision-making will enable retailers to operate at a level of granularity that matches our increasingly diverse customer needs and expectations; that's something that can't be acted on with human decision making. And for the world, I think the biggest issue facing us is climate chaos. Therefore, the biggest technologies to impact the world will be those that bring order to that chaos.

5. Every executive has their “top secrets of success” they know they’ll repeat when taking any new job.  What’s yours?

Take servant leadership seriously. And shift tech that is still project-oriented to product-oriented.

6. What is the best advice you ever got?

Don't want the job too much.

Create a great place to be a tech professional. We want to give them autonomy and modern tools and an environment where they can create real value and ship to production all the time.

Paul Gaffney, Chief Technology & Supply Chain Officer, Kohl's

Dirty Half-Dozen:

1. Book on your nightstand? Caroline Alexander's translation of "The Iliad"

2. Lunch with a leader, living or dead? Andy Grove

3. Favorite way to R&R? Boating

4. RTO, WFH or Mission to Mars? WFH

5. Three apps you can’t live without? DarkSky, Hey, NYT Crossword

 6. Your motto or mantra? Everything breaks; plan accordingly.

Posted in