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JCPenney adds latest pieces to transformation puzzle

PLANO, Texas — JCPenney understands that transformation doesn't happen over night and that finding the right people to implement its strategy takes careful planning. The company's latest personnel changes come in the areas of merchandising, brand partnerships, brand makeover and store experience.

"As we fundamentally re-imagine every aspect of our business, we're tapping into the best internal and external talent in the industry," said JCPenney president Michael Francis. "We're focused on building a world-class organization that will be instrumental in delivering a revolutionary shopping experience that is unlike anything that exists in retail today. We will continue to look both internally and externally as we build an organization to accomplish this goal."

Liz Sweney, who has been with JCPenney since 2000, has been tapped to lead the company's merchandise strategy as chief merchant and will oversee the reinvention of jcpenney's apparel and home portfolio. Prior to this role, Sweney served as EVP and senior general merchandise manager of JCPenney's women's apparel, accessories, footwear, jewelry and juniors divisions as well Sephora inside JCPenney. Before joining the company she held senior-level positions at Kellwood Co., after serving in merchandising positions of increasing responsibility at Montgomery Ward.

All merchandise divisions -- women's, men's, children's, footwear, jewelry, accessories, handbags and home -- now report under Sweney. In her new capacity, Sweney has promoted the following executives:

  • Siiri Dougherty has been promoted to SVP general merchandise manager of women's apparel. For the past seven years, Dougherty has held various leadership positions in women's apparel, serving as a buyer in women's accessories and most recently as divisional merchandise manager for women's career sportswear. Prior to joining JCPenney, Dougherty was senior merchant for The Limited.

  • Liz Asay has been promoted to SVP Sephora inside JCPenney, having previously served as VP of Sephora inside JCPenney, where she was instrumental in bringing jcpenney's first store-within-a-store concept to life and nurturing its current growth to over 300 shops. Before overseeing the company's Sephora inside JCPenney business, Asay's roles at JCPenney included store manager as well as divisional merchandise execution manager for women's apparel. Asay also brings experience from Mervyn's, where she served as district manager and retail operations manager.

Joining JCPenney from Target is Brian Robinson, who, as VP marketing and design partnerships, will oversee the company's efforts to build strategic relationships. Robinson was most recently director of fashion and design partnerships at Target, leading breakthrough initiatives with brands including Missoni and Liberty.

Also helping JCPenney with its strategic partnerships is Katheryn Burchett, who has been promoted to SVP merchandising and marketing integration. Burchett will be responsible for working with JCPenney's partners to implement their strategy and vision for their partnership at JCPenney and ensuring that their vision is seamlessly aligned across JCPenney's merchant and marketing organizations. Burchett has been with the company for more than 10 years, serving most recently as JCPenney's divisional VP merchandise strategy, playing a key role in the acquisition of the Liz Claiborne brand as well as other important merchandise initiatives.

Other promotions in the area of strategic partnerships include:  

  • Anne Cashill has been appointed SVP strategic brands. In her role, she will focus on developing and strengthening jcpenney's exclusive and national merchandise partnerships to create powerful brands that resonate deeply with customers. This includes overseeing key brands such as Liz Claiborne, Martha Stewart and l'amour Nanette Lepore. Cashill joins JCPenney from Coach Inc., where she served as VP, merchandising.

  • Bill Gentner has been appointed SVP strategic brands, responsible for reinvigorating JCPenney's portfolio of high-performing private brands such as The Original Arizona Jean Company and Xersion. Gentner previously served as the company's SVP, planning and promotion. His roles at  JCPenney have also included divisional VP men's marketing as well as brand director for St. John's Bay. Before joining JCPpenney, Gentner served as divisional merchandise manager of men's sportswear at Macy's.

  • Steve Seabolt has been appointed to SVP strategic brand alliances. In his role, Seabolt will oversee the identification and development of non-apparel partnerships. Seabolt joins JCPenney from Electronic Arts, where he served as VP global brand partnerships. Prior to his role at Electronic Arts, he served as CEO of Spinway Pty. Ltd, as well as CEO of Sunset magazine.

Helping to lead JCPenney's brand makeover will be Eric Hunter as SVP marketing. He will be responsible for the Company's marketing strategy, media buying, customer insights and loyalty programs. Hunter joins JCpenney from the Kellwood Co., where he most recently held the position of chief marketing officer and group president for Scotch & Soda and Lamb & Flag. Prior to joining Kellwood, Hunter served as EVP entertainment marketing at PMK/HBH and was an agent for Creative Artists Agency for six years. 

JCPenney veteran Greg Clark has been promoted to SVP creative. In his role, Clark, who previously served as VP creative, is responsible for bringing the JCPenney brand to life through the company's advertising efforts. Prior to joining JCPenney, Clark held executive creative positions at retailers including Toys"R"Us, Lane Bryant and Marshall Fields.

Overseeing JCPenney's new store experience will be Mike Fisher. As SVP, visual presentation he will be responsible for the company's new store experience, including the Street, the Square and the Shops. Joining JCPenney from Apple, Fisher brings a remarkable design aesthetic and breadth of talent and experience in store design.