Longtime JCPenney CMO Mike Boylson Retires

As Retailer Searches for Replacement, Gentner Takes Interim Role

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Mike Boylson, JCPenney's longtime chief marketer, has retired.

The retailer confirmed his departure and said that it has begun a search for his successor. A spokeswoman said Mr. Boylson announced his plans to retire in early June, and left the company July 1. His retirement was not previously announced, despite his executive role and tenure at the company.

Mike Boylson
Mike Boylson

Bill Gentner, previously senior VP-marketing planning and promotions, will serve as interim CMO while a search is conducted for Mr. Boylson's replacement.

This is the second major change to the department store's executive ranks this summer. In mid-June, Myron "Mike" Ullman announced that Ron Johnson, an Apple and Target alum, would be taking over as CEO later this year. Mr. Johnson joins JCPenney's board on Aug. 1 and will become CEO in November. Already he has been traveling with Mr. Ullman, and executives expect he'll bring major changes to the department-store chain.

Mr. Boylson spent more than three decades at Penney, rising through the ranks to the role of VP-director of marketing planning and promotions. In 2003, he was named chief marketing officer. He spent more than eight years in that role, a long run for a position that is often measured in months, not years.

Mr. Boylson presided over a massive marketing budget of $1.2 billion. During his tenure he worked to move JCPenney from more of a promotional model to a branded model. That brought with it the introduction of designer and celebrity lines, as well as the introduction of in-store Sephora boutiques. In 2006, he oversaw the shift of JCPenney's advertising account to Saatchi & Saatchi from DDB Worldwide, Chicago. Mr. Boylson and Mr. Ullman have been proponents of Kevin Roberts' "Lovemarks" theory of marketing.

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