by Brian Lipton
Marvin Ellison
Marvin Ellison

National retailer J.C. Penney has announced that Chairman and CEO Marvin R. Ellison will resign from his role to become president of hardware giant with Lowe’s Companies, Inc, where he will succeed retiring president Robert A. Niblick on July 2. While Ellison will remain a director and CEO of Penney’s through June 1, he will step down from his position as chairman of the board effective immediately.

As a result of the change, the Penney board of directors has elected current Lead Independent Director Ronald W. Tysoe as Chairman of the Board and has created an Office of the CEO, which will be comprised of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Davis, Chief Customer Officer Joe McFarland, Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer Therace Risch and Executive Vice President of Supply Chain Mike Robbins. These four leaders will share equal responsibility for the Company’s day-to-day operations until a new CEO is appointed. A search committee has been formed to conduct a search for a chief executive officer at JCPenney.

“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. “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.”

Added Ellison of his new job: “I am thrilled to take on the role as Lowe’s next president and CEO. Working closely with Lowe’s board, management team and the more than 310,000 talented employees, I believe we will not just compete, but win in today’s complex retail environment. Together, we will leverage Lowe’s omni-channel capabilities to deliver the most simple and seamless customer experiences as we execute with purpose and put the customer first in everything we do.”

Before joining JCPenney in 2014 to 2015, Ellison spent more than 12 years at The Home Depot, Inc., where he served as executive vice president of U.S. stores from 2008 to 2014, and spent 15 years at Target Corporation in a variety of operational roles. He is currently a director of FedEx Corporation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National Retail Federation. Ellison holds a BBA degree in marketing from the University of Memphis and a MBA from Emory University.