Report: HSN CEO Turns Down Top Job at JCPenney

JCPenneyNew York—JCPenney has had a litany of problems the last few years. The latest evidently is finding a new chief executive officer who would replace Myron “Mike” Ullman, who returned to the company last year after the ouster of controversial CEO Ron Johnson.

In a report today The Wall Street Journal states that Mindy Grossman, chief executive at HSN, turned down the CEO role after lengthy talks.

“The talks with Ms. Grossman progressed to an advanced stage but broke down about two months ago after the sides couldn’t agree on terms, two of these people said. The exact reason is unclear,” the Journal reported. “The uncertainty caused by the protracted search and Penney’s ongoing operational problems have weighed on the retailer’s shares, which have lost 50% of their value in the past year.”

Representatives for JCPenney and Grossman declined to comment.

JCPenney may be facing difficulty filling the high-profile position since several other retailers, including Target, Dollar General and American Eagle Outfitters, are also in the market for a new top chief.

“The enormity of the challenges confronting Penney as it tries to claw back market share have put off several experienced candidates, including other current retail CEOs who have been approached for the job, the “people” told the Journal.

Grossman, who has been at her position since 2006, is credited with upscaling HSN’s profile. She also reportedly had been courted to helm consumer electronics companies and Avon Products.

Whoever finally gets hired as chief executive at JCPenney will have his or her work cut out for them.

“As of May 3, the end of the company’s first quarter, sales remained $1.1 billion below where they were in the first quarter of 2011, months before Mr. Johnson took over.” Losses for the period widened to $352 million from a year earlier.

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Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com