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JC Penney names board member Thomas Engibous as new chairman
PLANO, Texas (AP) ' J.C. Penney Co. named board member Thomas J. Engibous, former head of Texas Instruments, as the department store chain's new chairman. He succeeds Myron E. Ullman III, former chief executive and chairman, who is finishing up his reign at Penney's.
The announcement adds the finishing touches to a major management transformation at the mid-price retailer.
Ullman, who became Penney's CEO in 2004, gave up that title Nov. 1 to Ron Johnson, a former executive at Apple Inc. who took over merchandising and marketing responsibilities and then planned to assume the rest of the responsibilities Feb. 1. During the three-month transition period, Ullman served as executive chairman.
The company said that Engibous will become chairman Jan. 28, which marks the end of Penney's fiscal year.
Under Ullman, J.C. Penney added popular brands like European clothing line MNG by Mango and Sephora cosmetics. But the department store chain is still struggling to be more inviting. The department store chain posted disappointing holiday sales as it has faced stiff competition from Macy's Inc. and other clothing sellers.
J.C. Penney reported that revenue at stores open at least a year rose 0.3 percent in December, missing the company's expectations. This figure is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed. The company also said on Thursday that it expects to lose money in the fourth quarter.
Engibous said in a statement on Tuesday that he will help J.C. Penney as it looks to lure more shoppers to its stores.
Engibous is a retired chairman and former CEO of Texas Instruments Inc. He has been a J.C. Penney board member since 1999 and has served as lead independent director and presiding director since 2008.
Johnson said in prepared remarks that Engibous has been invaluable to him in his early days leading the retailer and expects him to assist in the company's quest to build itself into "America's Favorite Store."
The company took one step toward revitalizing itself last month when it announced that it is buying a 16.6 percent stake in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. for $38.5 million. Starting in February 2013, mini-Martha Stewart shops will appear inside most of J.C. Penney stores, and the companies will operate a joint website. Later this month, Johnson is expected to unveil plans on a new pricing strategy and other broad-sweeping intitiatives.
J.C. Penney runs more than 1,100 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Shares slipped 8 cents to $34.49 in morning trading.