JCPenney CFO to Depart, Replacement Sought

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JCPenney's new logo, signaling a "transformation" of its business

Plano, TX—Less than a week after JCPenney announced some 900 job cuts, including 600 at its headquarters, the company said Wednesday that Michael Dastugue, its chief financial officer, would be leaving the company effective April 13.

In the interim until a replacement is found, Dastugue’s position will be filled by Michael Kramer, chief operating officer.

“We thank Michael for his many years of service at JCPenney,” said Ron Johnson, JCPenney’s ceo. “Over his 20-year career, Michael served in a variety of finance roles of increasing responsibility, culminating with his appointment as chief financial officer. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Dastugue was appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer in January 2011 after serving as senior vice president, finance, from February 2010. Since 1991, he held a series of positions of increasing responsibility with the company, including vice president and treasurer from 2000 to 2004, senior vice president, director of corporate finance in 2005 and senior vice president, director of property development from 2005 to 2010.

Johnson to Look for Replacement from Apple, Target?

Kramer is a recent addition to JCPenney’s executive team, joining in December 2011. Previously, Kramer was president and chief executive officer at Kellwood Company for three years. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and chief financial officer at Abercrombie & Fitch and previously served as the chief financial officer of Apple Retail. He had also held key financial leadership roles at The Limited, Pizza Hut and Einstein Noah Bagel Corporation. He is also a certified public accountant.

While news of Dastugue’s departure surprised some analysts, shares of JCPenney rose in trading on Wednesday.

Moreover, Dastugue’s departure is the latest key position to change since Johnson took over and began hiring many of his former colleagues from Apple and Target. In January, the company named Kristen Blum to the executive vice president and chief technology officer positions. Laura Beja Miller was placed in an executive vice president position in March. Last October, Michael R. Francis, formerly Target’s chief marketing officer, became president. Besides Miller, Johnson also hired Kramer, Daniel Walker as chief talent officer and Kristen Blum as chief technology officer.

“We expect Ron to leverage his Rolodex of contacts from his days at Apple and Target to find a candidate that will help execute his transformation,” said Deborah Weiswig, Citi analyst.

At 27/7 Wall St. investor analysts, who has been critical of JCPenney’s new strategy that Johnson announced in January, came this terse comment: “While this is not being considered a firing or a shove-out in the press release, it is rare to have a CFO departure take place with just a 48-hour notice. If it was an orderly retirement the announcement would have been made at the end of the year.”