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JCPenney’s C-Suite Merry-Go-Round Spins Again With CFO Departure

0aajeffreydavisJCPenney certainly has its hands full as it determines the future of its C-suite. Just four months after CEO Marvin Ellison left the company to take the chief exec position at Lowe’s, the department store is now looking to fill the CFO role as well.

Jeffrey Davis, EVP and CFO of JCPenney, is resigning from his position on Oct. 1 to pursue another opportunity. Davis had been CFO since July 2017, when he came from the same position at Darden Restaurants. He also has held leadership positions with Walmart U.S. stores, Lakeland Tours and McKesson Corp.

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Jerry Murray, Senior VP of Finance, will assume the position of Interim CFO, reporting directly to the Office of the CEO. Murray joined JCPenney in February 2016 after serving as Chief Financial Planner for Valassis, a multimedia marketing firm.

JCPenney will begin a formal search for Davis' successor, reviewing both internal and external candidates. The company has been searching for Ellison’s replacement since May, and even created an “Office of the CEO” in the interim to lead the direction of the company. However, Davis’ resignation makes him the second member of this Office to leave in two months: Chief Customer Officer Joseph McFarland quit this summer to follow Ellison to Lowe’s as its new EVP of Stores.

As interim CFO, Murray will report to Office members Therace Risch, Chief Information and Digital Officer, and Mike Robbins, EVP of Private Brands and Supply Chain.

While the department store sector as a whole is finding ways to claw back from a rough 2017, JCPenney has struggled mightily compared to peers such as Macy's and Nordstrom. Unlike those retailers, JCPenney lowered its outlook for the full year, with the company doubling net losses from the year prior to $101 million.

The retailer has been desperate for a turnaround since the late 2000s, and the hiring of Ellison in August 2015 was designed to engineer those changes. But despite initial goals of reaching a target of $1.2 billion in profitability, the company now has nearly $4 billion in unpaid long-term debt. Additionally, JCPenney has continued to struggle with inventory management levels even as seeks to reinvent itself through partnerships with Sephora and Fanatics.

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