John Tighe

John Tighe, chief merchant of J.C. Penney Co., will be leaving the retailer to pursue other opportunities.

Penney’s said that the company has eliminated Tighe’s position as part of an organizational restructuring designed to streamline decision-making and promote greater agility within its merchandise buying teams.

Tighe was promoted to executive vice president, chief merchant in October 2015. Previously he was senior vice president and senior general merchandise manager for the men’s, children’s, footwear, handbag and intimate apparel divisions.

He began his career at May Department Stores in various merchandising roles that included Filene’s and Meier & Frank. Penney’s recruited Tighe as a buyer in 2002, and he was later named divisional vice president, overseeing various apparel categories such as junior’s sportswear, misses’ casual and special sizes, before leading jcp.com in 2009 as senior vice president. In 2010, he was named senior vice president and general merchandise manager of the retailer’s home division before heading to men’s in 2012.

In the new organizational restructuring, Jodie Johnson, senior vice president and senior general merchandise manager of women’s apparel, Sephora, salon, women’s specialty, footwear and handbags; James Starke, senior vice president and senior general merchandise manger of men’s apparel, children’s apparel and jewelry, and Val Harris, senior vice president of product development and design, will report to Marvin R. Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer of Penney’s, effective immediately.

In addition, Tony Hurst, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of home, will add responsibility for custom window design and home services, as well as commercial sales, and will report to Joe McFarland, executive vice president of stores.

“Today’s executive realignment reflects a growing need to ensure our company remains nimble and flexible amid the constant change and transformation in the retail environment. I have the utmost confidence in our executive leaders who will continue to drive efficiency across their respective divisions, and will be empowered to make dynamic buying decisions based on real-time customer data. This simplified structure offers greater flexibility, which is critical to ensuring our assortment remains fresh and relevant, and compels more shoppers to choose J.C. Penney,” said Ellison.

Last week, Penney’s said it had liquidated slow-moving apparel in the third quarter and took a hit to the bottom line as it sought to put more money behind its more promising merchandise categories.

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