Michael Francis Departs JC Penney

Key Architect of Retailer's Turnaround Out After Eight Months

By Published on .

After only eight months, Michael Francis, one of the key architects of JC Penney's high-profile turnaround efforts, is leaving the company, effective immediately.

Michael Francis
Michael Francis

In October, the former Target exec became JC Penney's president, responsible for merchandising, marketing, planning and allocation, product development and sourcing. He was formerly the chief marketer at Target .

JC Penney announced the parting in a three-sentence statement, noting CEO Ron Johnson will assume direct responsibility and oversight of the company's marketing and merchandising functions. Mr. Johnson thanked Mr. Francis for his "hard work" and wished him well in his "future endeavors."

A JC Penney spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

JC Penney's marketing has been generally well received, from a creative standpoint, though there have been issues with the messaging. Many consumers have been confused about the retailer's pricing strategy, leading to a series of marketing adjustments. New ads have been running explaining the strategy, while the more straightforward word "sale" has been substituted for "month-long value."

As recently as last month, Mr. Francis spoke to analysts and investors about JC Penney's new merchandising initiatives. By August, he said, 47% of JC Penney's offerings will be "transformed."

At the time of Mr. Francis' hiring, Mr. Johnson said he had the "vision and courage to re-imagine the department-store experience."

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