After working for more than 12 years at Home Depot, JCPenney CEO Marvin R. Ellison is taking the helm as chief executive at Lowe’s. Shares of Lowe's rose nearly 2 percent in early morning trading on the news, while shares of JCPenney fell approximately 3 percent, CNBC reported.
JCPenney only recently became aware of the move: A company spokesperson told CNBC that Ellison told them of his decision only a few days ago. As of now, four executives are behind the company’s day-to-day decisions. To fill the vacancy, the retailer is looking for external and internal candidates.
Ellison leaves JCPenney as the retailer is in turnaround mode. The retailer cut 230 positions in March, and the company announced the same month that its executive vice president of its omnichannel business, Mike Amend, was leaving the firm.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told CNBC, “The turnaround program that Ellison put in place at JCPenney has partly delivered, but is still far from complete. There is now a question mark over how this plan will proceed and, indeed, whether JCPenney will remain on the same trajectory.”
The news comes less than four years after Ellison, a veteran senior executive at Home Depot, was named the new CEO for JCPenney. That hire came as the retailer was seeking to recover from $3 billion in losses over a three-and-a-half year period. At the time, Ellison departed from Home Depot to take the helm at JCPenney from its then-CEO Mike Ullman.
While at Home Depot, Ellison sought to make the retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores easier for customers to navigate. He also sought to free up workers' time to help customers by making their tasks simpler. The new strategy boosted sales at the chain — and the company’s stock tripled over a four-year period. Ellison’s hire at JCPenney was well-received by Wall Street: JCPenney stocks jumped 5.3 percent shortly after the announcement was made.