JCPenney Hires Kraft Vet to Run Marketing

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JCPenney Hires Kraft Vet to Run Marketing
JCPenney Hires Kraft Vet to Run Marketing

Noting that he aimed to bring customers back to JCPenney stores with “targeted campaigns that creatively highlight our…combination of style, quality, and value,” CEO Myron “Mike” Ullman yesterday announced the appointment of Kraft and ad industry veteran Debra Berman as SVP of marketing.

Berman had directed global brand strategy at Kraft Foods Group as VP of marketing strategy and customer engagement since 2009. Prior to entering the brand marketing arena, she established her credentials as a strategic planner at agencies including DDB Advertising, Young & Rubicam, and Sterling Brands, a strategy and design specialist.

At JCP, Berman fills the spot left by Michael Francis a year ago in the wake of CEO Ron Johnson's failure to implement his everyday-low-price strategy at the chain. Johnson, highly touted in the retail industry as the developer of the Apple Store network, assumed Francis's duties after Johnson's own dismissal in April. JCP revenues declined by 25% in its fiscal year ending February 2.

Under Ullman's leadership, the retailer is redoing its merchandising strategy and returning to a more promotional marketing stance. He looks to Berman to set the new tone. "Debra Berman is an enormously talented marketing executive, and her desire to join the JCPenney team is a testament to our brand and its potential," Ullman said. "Her broad experience and success as a marketing strategist for major consumer brands make her the ideal leader to help us continue to reconnect with our core customer through effective promotions and campaigns.”

Wall Street was not quite so excited by Berman's arrival. Following yesterday's announcement, JCPenney stock was the poorest performer in the S&P Retail Select Industry Index, falling 3.2%.

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