J.C. Penney has promoted Ken Mangone to executive vice president of product development and sourcing, succeeding Peter McGrath, who retired last month.

This story first appeared in the January 10, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

It’s a critical role, particularly since 50 percent of Penney’s annual volume is generated by private and exclusive brands. Mangone will oversee the PD&S team, which handles all the trend analysis, product design and development, sourcing, manufacturing and quality control associated with private brands such as Worthington, Arizona, Liz Claiborne and St. John’s Bay.

Mangone, who joined Penney’s 34 years ago as a management trainee, will report to Myron Ullman 3rd, chairman and chief executive officer. Mangone was senior vice president of product development, reporting to McGrath, and was instrumental in building up the in-house design team from under 50 five years ago to a current 250 textile and fashion designers. Mangone is also credited with sharpening and differentiating the lifestyle images of Penney’s key private brands as well as launching the a.n.a private brand.

McGrath, a 37-year veteran of Penney’s, isn’t completely severing ties. He will serve as a consultant. McGrath is credited with improving the cost-efficiency and speed of the PD&S organization and improving quality controls. He’s worked with mills and manufacturers around the globe, met with world leaders in developing nations and also oversaw the design buildup. Penney’s cycle time, from design of a product to landing it on the selling floor, currently averages about 30 weeks, though in the case of the fast-turning juniors category, it can be a ten-week cycle.

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