In New Blow, J.C. Penney Chief Financial Officer Resigns

In the latest blow to beleaguered retailer J.C. Penney, chief financial officer Jeffrey Davis (pictured), who has been in the role only since last July, has resigned.

Davis, the former chief financial officer for Darden Restaurants, is leaving the department store chain to “pursue another opportunity,” according to a statement. The Penney board of directors will launch a formal search for his successor, including both internal and external candidates.

Jerry Murray, senior vice president of finance, will take on the role of chief financial officer on an interim basis, until a successor is named. Murray, who joined Penney in February 2016, was previously the chief financial officer for Valassis, a multimedia marketing firm.

Jerry Murray
Jerry Murray, J.C. Penney’s interim chief financial officer

The move now leaves the Plano, Texas–based company without either a chief executive or chief financial officer. Company CEO Marvin Ellison left in May of this year to head home improvement and appliance retailer Lowe’s.

As the company searched for a successor for Ellison, it instituted an “office of the CEO,” which was originally composed of four top executives: Davis; executive vice president of stores and chief customer officer Joe McFarland; chief information officer and chief digital officer Therace Risch; and executive vice president of supply chain Mike Robbins.

But this July, chief customer officer McFarland left Penney to join Ellison at Lowe’s. And now Davis has left too, cutting the office of the CEO in half.

In its financial results for the second quarter (ended Aug. 4), Penney’s comps increased 0.3 percent, and it singled out jewelry as one of the quarter’s strongest sellers. However, its total net sales decreased 7.5 percent, due to its closure of 141 stores over the prior year. The company also posted a $100 million loss.

“I have every confidence that J.C. Penney has the experience and determination to persevere and strengthen its position as one of America’s leading retailers,” said Davis in a statement.

(Images courtesy of J.C. Penney)

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JCK News Director