J.C. Penney CEO, alumnus speaks to students

During our MBA for Executives program, we have the opportunity to listen and interact with Emory alumni that serve in key leadership positions.

On March 3 we had the honor to hear and speak with Marvin Ellison, J.C. Penney CEO since August 2015, and an Executive MBA alumnus. Mr. Ellison shared with us how he started at Home Depot and moved up the ranks until joining J.C. Penney. He was grateful to share some of the key aspects and actions he is taking to transform and get the company back on track after several challenging years.

What struck me during the interaction with Mr. Ellison was his transparency and vision for the organization. Mr. Ellison also shared with us his vision for the industry and how online retail — in combination with increased shipping costs — will change the landscape in the near future.

Some of my key takeaways from Mr. Ellison in leading the company:

  • Recruit talent at all levels
  • Create alignment to get the mission right and understand customer needs
  • Make the vision and objectives simple so everyone in the organization understands their roles

Ellison was named CEO of J.C. Penny in Fall 2014 after a distinguished career at Home Depot. According to Bloomberg, At Home Depot, Ellison was charged with process improvement and increasing customer service. The company’s stock almost tripled during that timeframe.

Ellison was ranked No. 19 in Fortune‘s top CEO list in 2016.

Miguel Louzan

Miguel Louzan

Miguel is a technology executive with more than 20 years experience working across different industries, from consulting, medical devices, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing space. I'm passionate about driving competitive advantage through technology and bring innovation by challenging "traditional "ways of doing things. He studies in the MBA for Executives program at the Emory business school, graduating May 2017.

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