PENNEY’S SHIFTS EXECTIVES TO REINFORCE WOMEN’S BUSINESS, REGIONAL STRUCTURE
Byline: Rusty Williamson
PLANO, Tex. — In a management realignment to strengthen its women’s business, J.C. Penney Co. said Marilee Cumming will become president of women’s apparel, while James L. Hailey will be president of women’s accessories. Both changes occur Feb. 1.
Hailey is currently president of the women’s division, which includes supervision of accessories. Cumming is president of the home and leisure division.
“Our women’s business is a crucial element of our profitable growth,” said James Oesterreicher, vice chairman and chief executive officer. “It has much potential and great opportunity for market-share growth.”
Like many retailers, Penney’s women’s division took a hard hit during the holiday season. Sales for the division reportedly finished down 7 to 9 percent. Penney’s total store sales for the five weeks ending Dec. 30 were down 1.4 percent, and catalog sales were down 1.5 percent.
In related changes, Randy S. Ronning was named president of the home and leisure division, succeeding Cumming. Ronning is now president of international business expansion. George K. Kapplinger, currently vice president of store operations for Latin America, has been appointed vice president of international expansion.
Gale Duff-Bloom, considered the highest-ranking woman at Penney’s, was named president of marketing and company communications, a new position that consolidates marketing, visual display, signage, advertising and company communications. Duff-Bloom is now senior executive vice president and director of personnel and company communications. Penney’s said it will consolidate its existing four regional organizations into three: Northeast in Schaumburg, Ill.; South in Atlanta; West in Buena Park, Calif. A regional office in Bethel Park, Penn., will close. A date on the closing has not been set yet. A spokesman said he did not have the figure on how many employees will be affected, but Penney’s is attempting to find jobs in the company for all of them.
Thomas B. Ashmore, who has been president of the Bethel Park office, will run a new organizational unit in Dallas to supervise Penney’s top 10 markets.
“This change to our stores’ regional organization is designed to increase our focus and execution in our largest markets,” the spokesman said.
Don D. Hoggatt, vice president of marketing and visual communications, was tapped as president of the expanded northeast region. Edward T. Howard and Michael W. Taxter continue as president of the West and South regions, respectively.
Gary L. Davis, president of Penney’s Northwest region, was named senior vice president and director of personnel and administration.