Marvin Ellison is going back to home improvement retailing.
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. said this morning that Ellison has resigned as chairman and chief executive officer “to pursue another opportunity with Lowe’s Cos. Inc.,” where he will be ceo. Ellison had joined Penney’s after a long career at Home Depot, where he served as head of its U.S. stores from 2002 to 2014, when he joined Penney’s.
He will remain a director and ceo at Penney’s until June 1. Ronald Tysoe, the retailer’s lead independent director, has been named chairman while Penney’s has created “an office of the CEO” to run the operation day to day while a new ceo is sought. The group will include Jeff Davis, chief financial officer; Joe McFarland, chief customer officer; Therace Risch, chief information and digital officer, and Mike Robbins, executive vice president of supply chain.
Penney’s shares plunged more than 6 percent in pre-market trading on the news, to $2.34. Lowe’s shares rose 2.6 percent to $89.80.
“I want to thank Marvin for his many significant contributions to JCPenney over the past three years. During his tenure, the company retired $1.4 billion in debt, renewed and enhanced its revolving credit facility and has significantly strengthened the Company’s financial position,” said Tysoe. “Additionally, he assembled a strong leadership team that will continue to serve the company in an elevated capacity to ensure the entire organization remains focused on our customer and improving results. We thank Marvin for his leadership and dedication, and wish him much success in his next endeavor.”
“It has been a tremendous honor leading the company as chairman and ceo, and working alongside some of the most talented professionals in retail,” said Ellison, who succeeded Myron “Mike” Ullman as the company continued to try to turn itself around from the missteps under former ceo Ron Johnson. “I want to personally thank the entire JCPenney team for their loyalty and hard work over the years. Their warrior spirit is unmatched, and I have the utmost confidence that JCPenney has the talent and expertise to achieve sustainable, long-term growth.”=
Tysoe has served on company boards as a director for the last 20 years. He was served as vice chairman of finance and real estate at Macy’s Inc., formerly Federated Department Stores Inc., from 1990 to 2006. From 1990 to 1997, he also served as chief financial officer of Federated. Tysoe was a member of the Federated board from 1988 to 2005. He joined the JCPenney board in 2013.