DALLAS — J.C. Penney Co. has named Catherine G. West to be executive vice president and chief operating officer, overseeing 1,021 stores as well as logistics and supply chain operations and property development, including new units.

West, 46, has been president of Capital One’s U.S. Card business since 2004. She takes over for Ken Hicks, who, in 2002, joined Penney’s as president and chief operating officer until being appointed president and chief merchandising officer in January 2005. West also has joined Pen­ney’s executive board.

Both West and Hicks report to Myron E. “Mike” Ullman 3rd, chairman and chief executive officer of $18.7 billion Penney’s.

Ullman and Hicks were traveling in Asia on Monday and couldn’t be reached for comment. West also was unavailable.

Penney’s is trying to build on its goal of becoming the dominant midtier retailer in the U.S. The company said in April that it was earmarking about $3 billion to build 150 stores and renovate more than 200 others by 2009. The retailer plans to bow 27 stores this year. In addition, Plano, Tex.-based Penney’s has an intensified focus on fast-turn, trendier fashions; new private and national labels, and a growing $1 billion Internet business.

“Catherine has distinguished herself as a world-class service sector executive with an outstanding track record of developing strategies to increase customer satisfaction and associate engagement and to enhance financial performance,” Ullman said in a statement. “This experience will be invaluable as we move forward in executing J.C. Penney’s long-range plan for growth, which centers on anticipating the needs and wants of our customers and being a leader in performance and execution.”

West joined Capital One in 2000 as senior vice president of U.S. Consumer Risk Operations. Since being named president of the U.S. Card business, she has been responsible for credit card product development, marketing, customer relations, collections and recoveries and customer contact operations across the U.S.

As of March 31, Capital One’s U.S. Card business had $47.1 billion in management loans and $2 billion in managed revenues and generated $602.8 million in net income. West also was on the company’s executive committee and was president and director of Capital One Bank. She joined Capital One in 2000 as senior vice president of U.S.Consumer Risk Operations.

This story first appeared in the June 6, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“J.C. Penney has undergone profound change in recent years and, due to its intense customer focus and the growing excitement among its associates, is rapidly becoming a premier retailer in the U.S.,” West said in a statement. “This is an extraordinary and distinctive opportunity for me.”

Before joining Capital One, West worked for nine years at First USA Bank, where she was executive vice president of marketing services and operations. She was vice president of credit card operations for Chevy Chase Bank FSB from 1985 to 1991.

West began her career at Peoples Express Airline in 1981, after graduating from Lynchburg College with a bachelor’s degree.

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