By Michelle Graff
Marvin Ellison, who has been chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney since November 2014, is leaving the company to become CEO of home improvement store chain Lowe’s. Four executives will manage the retailer’s day-to-day operations until a replacement is named.
Plano, Texas--J.C. Penney Co. Inc. Chairman and CEO Marvin Ellison is leaving to run Lowe’s, the retailer announced Tuesday.

Ellison has been chairman and CEO since joining the company in November 2014. Prior to that, he spent 12 ½ years as executive vice president of stores for Lowe’s rival The Home Depot and also spent 15 years as a director for Minneapolis-based Target.

He will remain a J.C. Penney director and its CEO through June 1 but immediately will step down from his position as chairman of the board.

J.C. Penney said it already has put together a search committee to find a replacement.

In the meantime, current Lead Independent Director Ronald W. Tysoe will become board chairman while four executives will run the company’s day-to-day operations: Chief Financial Officer Jeff Davis, Chief Customer Officer Joe McFarland, Chief Information and Digital Officer Therace Risch and Executive Vice President of Supply Chain Mike Robbins.

“I want to thank Marvin for his many significant contributions to J.C. Penney over the past three years,” Tysoe said in a company statement. “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.

“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.”

J.C. Penney ranks No. 9 on National Jeweler’s $100 Million Supersellers list in its 2017 State of the Majors report with $753 million in watch and jewelry sales in 2016. It is just behind and ahead of Sears.

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