Can Penney’s new leadership (finally) transform the business?
Marc Rosen is pulling together a leadership team at JCPenney with a vision of doing nothing less than transforming the legacy retailer.
Penney’s CEO, who joined the company in November after serving as executive vice president and president of Levi Strauss Americas, announced the additions of Sharmeelee Bala, chief information officer (CIO), and Katie Mullen, chief digital and transformation officer (CDO), to the retailer’s c-suite.
Ms. Bala has been charged with uniting “JCPenney’s physical assets with its evolving digital footprint,” according to a press release. She joins Penney from Gap Inc., where she served in leadership roles since 2018. Ms. Bala worked in a variety of technology and executive positions at Walmart for 20 years before joining Gap.
Ms. Mullen has been charged with driving Penney’s enterprise strategy forward and actualizing its plans to transform its business to meet the needs of customers when, where and how they wish to shop. She joins Penney after nearly three years at Neiman Marcus where she was first the chief transformation officer and then CDO. Ms. Mullen was a partner and managing director at Boston Consulting prior to that.
“With a strong balance sheet and unique products and services backed by our iconic American brand, JCPenney is a destination for best-in-class talent like Sharmeelee and Katie,” said Marc Rosen, chief executive officer. “Sharmeelee and Katie will be invaluable partners as we move forward with our digital journey and transform the business through technology and innovation.”
Mr. Rosen’s ability to attract top talent is seen as one of the keys to restoring Penney from a retailer simply seeking to survive to one that thrives.
The retailer recently made news on the merchandising front that it hopes will attract younger shoppers to its stores while appealing to loyal customers, adding Forever 21 merchandise to 100 stores and jcpenney.com. The chain’s owners, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners, also own part of Forever 21, along with Authentic Brands Group (ABG).
Last week, Penney and ABG debuted a new athleisure collection, Sports Illustrated for JCPenney, for men, women and children that is exclusive to the retailer. The mens and womens lines are available at all Penney’s stores. Plus-size and big & tall lines will be available at 300 of the chain’s locations, as will the kids line. The entire selection is available online.
- JCPenney Taps New Executives to Lead Technology and Digital Organizations – JCPenney
- JCPenney finds its new CEO at Levi Strauss – RetailWire
- Introducing Forever 21 at JCPenney – JCPenney
- Is Forever 21 a wise investment for its new mall landlord owners? – RetailWire
- Could Authentic Brands be the lynchpin in J.C. Penney’s turnaround? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you make of the recent c-suite and merchandise news from JCPenney? Do you see opportunities for the chain to make some positive moves now that its balance sheet is healthy?