JCPenney has brought in two retail veterans to lead its technology and digital divisions. Former Gap and Walmart executive Sharmeelee Bala has been named Chief Information Officer (CIO), and Katie Mullen has joined from Neiman Marcus Group as Chief Digital and Transformation Officer (CDO).
The appointments come just months after Marc Rosen was named CEO in October 2021. Rosen’s digital credentials — he drove digital strategy at Levi Strauss & Co after holding a number of roles at Walmart, including SVP of Global Ecommerce — were a strong signal that JCPenney would emphasize ecommerce as it works to rebound from a pandemic-forced bankruptcy, and these new appointments bolster that assumption.
“With a strong balance sheet and unique products and services backed by our iconic American brand, JCPenney is a destination for best-in-class talent like Sharmeelee and Katie,” said Rosen said in a statement. “Sharmeelee and Katie will be invaluable partners as we move forward with our digital journey and transform the business through technology and innovation.”
As CIO, Bala will assume responsibility for the company’s IT organization and the global technology systems that power its stores, operation centers and supply chain. She will also lead development of solutions to unite JCPenney’s physical assets with its evolving digital footprint. Bala joins JCPenney from Gap Inc., where she has held leadership positions since 2018, most recently as Head of Product Engineering. She also spent 20 years with Walmart in a number of technology and executive roles.
As CDO, Mullen will lead the growth of the company’s ecommerce business as the retailer “reimagines how consumers experience JCPenney no matter when, where and how they want to shop.” Mullen will also be responsible for driving enterprise strategy and the company’s transformation agenda. Most recently, she spent nearly three years with Neiman Marcus Group, serving as Chief Transformation Officer and then Chief Digital Officer.