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J.C. Penney Names Top Men’s Merchant

The retailer has named John Tighe senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear.

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Special Issue
Men'sWeek issue 05/31/2012

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has a new men’s team.

This story first appeared in the May 31, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Plano, Tex.-based retailer has named John Tighe senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear. He formerly headed the home division for the retailer and reports to Elizabeth Sweney, chief merchant. Tighe succeeds Steve Lawrence, who left the company in March.

Tighe will be charged with upping the fashion quotient in men’s for the store, which is in the midst of a transformation under new chief executive officer and former Apple Inc. executive Ron Johnson.

“I recruited John from May Co. 10 years ago,” Sweney told WWD Wednesday. He had previously worked for Filene’s and Meier & Frank and had varied experience ranging from young men’s and men’s furnishings to juniors.

Sweney said she interviewed dozens of people for the job but decided on Tighe for three reasons. “He’s a proven merchant at J.C. Penney and has experience in several areas in women’s apparel and home,” she said. “He’s also a change agent. He completely reimagined the home store. He knows what needs to be fixed and then he changes it.”

She also singled out his “great market relationships” with high-profile executives such as Martha Stewart and Jonathan Adler, and said he was instrumental in attracting them to Penney’s. “And he has men’s background from May Co.”

At the same time, she said Penney’s has hired Preston Moxcey, an 11-year veteran of Nordstrom, to join the men’s team as merchandise manager of furnishings and accessories. “He’s a very aggressive merchant and has a great taste level,” she said. “He understands both national and private brands.”

Both Tighe and Moxcey will be working closely with Nick Wooster, the former fashion director of Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, who joined Penney’s in March in the newly created role of vice president of design and trend for men’s.

“We have a big men’s business,” Sweney said. “It’s the number-two business in the store, but we need to inject some style into it. With John as the change agent and Preston and Nick imparting private brand and trend information, we have a great team in men’s to move the business forward.”

She said the goal is to add more contemporary style to the mix in categories ranging from young men’s to mature men’s while continuing to improve the quality in the men’s offering.

Succeeding Tighe as senior vice president and gmm of home is Paul Rutenis, who had served as divisional merchandise manager of furniture and decorative accessories for Penney’s.