J.C. Penney Co. Inc. CEO Marvin Ellison has given his notice to the retail chain and is heading to home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. Inc. to be its next CEO. Ellison’s last day at J.C. Penney, which was struggling mightily when Ellison joined in 2014 but has largely gotten back on track under his leadership, is June 1.
Ellison worked at Lowe’s chief competitor, Home Depot Inc., for more than a dozen years before joining J.C. Penney in 2014. A number of senior executives from Home Depot followed Ellison to Penney’s. With online sales nearing $2 billion, per Internet Retailer estimates, J.C. Penney is No. 31 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000. Lowe’s is No. 21. Home Depot is No. 7. Ellison was executive vice president of stores at Home Depot from 2008 to 2014.
“It has been a tremendous honor leading the company as chairman and CEO and working alongside some of the most talented professionals in retail,” Ellison says in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence that J.C. Penney has the talent and expertise to achieve sustainable, long-term growth.”
Ellison will join Lowe’s as CEO and board member July 2. He takes over for Robert A. Niblock, who in March announced his intention to retire.
“Attracting Marvin is a great win for the entire Lowe’s team,” says Marshall O. Larsen, lead director of Lowe’s board. “He also brings significant experience in the home improvement industry, with a proven track record of global operational excellence and driving results from both DIY and Pro customers. Marvin joins Lowe’s at a critical inflection point as we work to enhance our competitive position and capitalize on solid project demand in an evolving consumer environment. We look forward to shepherding an exciting new chapter for Lowe’s under Marvin’s leadership.”
On joining Lowe’s, Ellison says: “I am thrilled to take on the role as Lowe’s next president and CEO. Working closely with Lowe’s board, management team and the more than 310,000 talented employees, I believe we will not just compete, but win in today’s complex retail environment. Together, we will leverage Lowe’s omnichannel capabilities to deliver the most simple and seamless customer experiences as we execute with purpose and put the customer first in everything we do.”
J.C. Penney says it will be led by a quartet of senior executives acting as an “office of the CEO” while it looks for a new CEO. Those executives are chief financial officer Jeff Davis, chief customer officer Joe McFarland, chief information and chief digital officer Therace Risch and executive vice president of supply chain Mike Robbins.