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J.C. Penney Names New Marketing Chief

Debra Berman will focus on marketing geared to revitalize the Penney’s brand, build its brand architecture and communicate the brand promise.

J.C. Penney Co. INC. named Debra Berman senior vice president of marketing, filling a key slot that’s been vacant since June 2012, when Michael Francis was forced out of the post.

This story first appeared in the August 6, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Berman will focus on marketing geared to revitalize the Penney’s brand, build its brand architecture and communicate the brand promise. She will report to Myron E. “Mike” Ullman 3rd, Penney’s chief executive officer, who has been handling the marketing role.

Berman was vice president of marketing strategy and engagement at the Kraft Foods Group, directing global brand strategy and customer engagement for all Kraft-owned brands and leading that company’s marketing communications center of excellence. Ullman said Berman’s broad experience as a marketing strategist will help Penney’s “reconnect with our core customer through effective promotions and campaigns.” Before joining Kraft in 2009, Berman was a strategic planning director at DDB Advertising. Earlier, she worked at Sterling Brands, Young & Rubicam, Swander Pace and Co., JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi and Lintas.

“There is huge opportunity to remind America’s families why it is so great to shop at J.C. Penney while attracting new customers to the brand,” Berman said. “This can be achieved through targeted campaigns that creatively highlight our unique and authentic combination of style, quality and value.”

Under former ceo Ron Johnson, Francis focused on a new pricing format, eliminating coupons and emphasizing everyday low prices, which failed.