J.C. Penney Names Francis President

Michael Francis

Michael Francis

PLANO, Texas–J.C. Penney has named former Target executive Michael Francis president, effective today.

Francis, who spent the past 25 years at Target and served as its chief marketing officer for the past three, will be responsible for all merchandising, marketing, planning and allocation, and product development and sourcing functions at J.C. Penney. He will report to Ron Johnson, who will assume the CEO role on Nov. 1 and is currently on the board. Francis succeeds Ken Hicks, who left the company in June 2009.

Retail analysts for Goldman Sachs said they expect Johnson to “bolster management talent” at the retailer. While the analysts said Francis’ impact will not likely be evident until the second half of next year, they believe his appointment “indicates that Ron Johnson is wasting no time as he seeks to be an agent for change at J.C. Penney, and can successfully attract talent he formerly worked with at Target. We expect this to be the first of many more management changes to come.”

In a statement, Johnson said Francis “is an extremely talented executive with the vision and courage to re-imagine the department store experience. His ability to innovate and deep understanding of the industry will be invaluable as we set out to transform J.C. Penney into America’s favorite store.”

Francis said, “This is a tremendous opportunity for me to get back to department store retail. I began my career working on the sales floor of the State Street Marshall Field’s in Chicago. It was there where my passion for retail began and my understanding of the power and potential of the department store was formed. I am delighted to join J.C. Penney and work with Ron and the talented J.C. Penney team to help accelerate the momentum already taking place.”