The wait is over for Marvin Ellison.
J.C. Penney Co.’s board of directors on Thursday named the chief executive officer to the additional post of chairman, effective Aug. 1. Ellison succeeds Myron “Mike” E. Ullman III, who is retiring in accordance with the transition plan outlined by Penney’s in 2014.
Ellison joined Penney’s in November 2014 as president and ceo-designee. He succeeded Ullman as ceo in August 2015, at which time Ullman began a one-year term as executive chairman. Ellison was also given a seat on Penney’s board.
When he was hired, Ellison faced the daunting task of continuing Penney’s turnaround efforts. While the Plano, Tex.-based retailer had been showing signs of life, it was not known whether Ellison would be able to drive sales growth and return the company to profitability.
While Penney’s is not yet out of the woods, Ellison said in May that he expects the company this year to post its first positive earnings per share since 2010. Ellison projected the retailer would post $1 billion in earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation in 2016. At the same time last year, he had called for $1.2 billion in earnings before interest, taxes and amortization by 2017.
“We admittedly had a slower first quarter in revenue than we had anticipated,” he acknowledged. “However, we still outperformed every one of our key competitors.”
“I am delighted that the board has appointed Marvin as chairman,” Ullman said. “Over the past year and a half, he has proven himself to be the right leader for our company, as we’ve made significant progress in implementing the changes needed to rebuild J.C. Penney into a successful, modern retailer with a profitable and sustainable business.”
“It’s an honor to succeed Mike as the next chairman of J.C. Penney,” Ellison said. “Mike has demonstrated great leadership, twice as ceo, and for the past year as our executive chairman. For someone who started his retail career as a $4.35 per hour store security officer, it is a blessing and an honor to be named chairman of J.C. Penney. I look forward to continuing to work with our talented board and management team as we continue to take the steps necessary to drive the resurgence of J.C. Penney.”
Prior to joining Penney’s, from August 2008 to October 2014, Ellison was executive vice president of U.S. stores at Home Depot. He joined the retailer in June 2002 and held a variety of operational roles. Before joining Home Depot, Ellison spent 15 years at Target in asset protection and operational roles.