J.C. Penney Board Squabble Ends With Ackman Resignation

He fought the board, and the board won.

Outspoken member William Ackman resigned from the J.C. Penney board of directors on Aug. 12, following a public disagreement over when the company’s current CEO should be replaced.

Ackman heads Pershing Square Capital Management, which owns 18 percent of Penney’s. He released two letters to the media last week calling for the speedy replacement of current CEO Myron Ullman and suggesting former CEO Allen Questrom as a replacement for board chair Thomas Engibous. He also said the board had “ceased to function effectively.”

The company is replacing Ackman with Ronald Tysoe, who spent 16 years as vice chairman at Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s). It also plans to seek “another highly qualified individual” to join the board.

The board statement reiterated its support for both Ullman and Engibous.

In a statement, Ackman said, “I believe that the addition of two new directors and my stepping down from the board is the most constructive way forward for J.C. Penney and all other parties involved.”  

JCK News Director