Michael Francis is bringing some of his marketing magic to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., but only as a consultant — for now.
The former Target marketing wiz, who had an ill-fated stint as president of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. under Ron Johnson, arrives as Stephen Quinn, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, plans to retire as of Jan. 31.
Quinn joined Wal-Mart in 2005 and took on his current role two years later, helping to shape key elements of the Wal-Mat message. A spokeswoman noted that, “In 2008, he led our re-branding effort, including the introduction of our logo and tag line — Save money. Live better.”
Francis starts on Jan. 1.
He left Target in 2011 to join Johnson, who was busy pushing through a drastic, but ultimately unsuccessful remake of Penney’s as chief executive officer.
That gig was short-lived and Francis left Penney’s in June the following year, broadly seen as the fall guy for a turnaround that wasn’t working. A few months later, he was doing marketing consulting for Gap Inc., but found a more permanent home in Hollywood, where he went to DreamWorks Animation in 2013 and became chief global brand officer. He was due to transition out of that role this month.
Wal-Mart is going through some transitions of its own. In August, the giant retailer spooked investors, noting that it would not grow profits as quickly as it invests to take better advantage of its e-commerce opportunities.