JC Penney cycles through another CMO

Current chief marketer Marci Grebstein will depart Feb. 3

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Credit: JC Penney

JC Penney is on the hunt for another top marketer, its third in four years. Marci Grebstein, the current chief marketing officer, will depart the Plano, Texas-based brand Feb. 3 to "pursue other opportunities," according to a company spokeswoman.

On Monday afternoon, the struggling retail chain said it is searching for a chief customer officer. That person will be tasked with leading marketing initiatives, including customer loyalty and messaging, across all channels at the brand. Grebstein, who formerly handled marketing at Lowe's, joined Penney in 2017. She replaced Mary Beth West, who had been with the brand for just two years before joining Hershey.

Penney has also had its share of departures at the CEO level. Last year, CEO Marvin Ellison exited the department store to lead Lowe's; Penney hired the former CEO of Joann Stores Jill Soltau late last year.

Like other legacy retailers, the brand has had trouble remaining relevant with modern consumers. Over the crucial holiday period, sales at stores open more than a year -- a common metric for retail health -- declined 3.5 percent on an adjusted basis. The brand promoted a "Value the Present" marketing campaign over the gifting season, a campaign it created with agency Badger & Winters.

Also on Monday, Penney announced the appointment of Truett Horne, formerly an associate principal at McKinsey & Co., as chief transformation officer and the promotion of Mike Robbins, currently exec VP of private brands and supply chain to exec VP-chief stores and supply chain officer.

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