Another key executive has decided to leave J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and join Lowe’s.
Joseph M. McFarland, executive vice president and chief customer officer since February, and a member of the office of the chief executive officer, is leaving Penney’s on Aug. 1 to become executive vice president of stores at Lowe’s, the home improvement chain. His role at Penney’s included responsibility for merchandising as well as leading store operations. McFarland joined Penney’s in 2016 as executive vice president of stores.
McFarland is following in the footsteps of Penney’s former ceo, Marvin Ellison, who resigned in May to become president and ceo of Lowe’s. Penney’s is searching for a new ceo.
McFarland will report to Ellison at Lowe’s and oversee the north, south and west divisions, Orchard Supply Hardware, pro and services businesses, operations engineering, and asset protection for the organization.
“McFarland played an important role in simplifying operations and promoting a service culture across the entire stores’ organization,” a Penney’s spokeswoman said Friday. “J.C. Penney is grateful for his dedication and service, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
“Penney’s is not looking to name a replacement at this time,” the spokeswoman added. “That determination will ultimately be made by an incoming ceo. The office of the ceo will also continue operating in its current capacity at this time.”
Due to McFarland’s departure, Tony Hurst, senior vice president of stores, will serve in an elevated capacity, overseeing all store activities. He will report to Mike Robbins, executive vice president of private brands and supply chain. Jennifer Hipskind, senior vice president of store environment and design, and Vincent Scalese, senior vice president of store operations, will report to Hurst.
In November, the retailer fired its chief merchant John Tighe. He’s now president of Peerless Clothing. Penney’s has two executives splitting the merchandising; Jodie Johnson, senior vice president and head of merchandising for women’s, beauty and family footwear, and James Starke, Penney’s senior vice president and head of merchandising for men’s, children’s, home and jewelry. They both now report to the office of the ceo, instead of McFarland.