J.C. Penney CFO Jeff Davis leaves at short notice

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about a year in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Davis
  • Jerry Murray taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Davis kept it short and said 46 words

(exechange) — Plano, Texas, September 27, 2018 — Jeff Davis, finance chief of J.C. Penney, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by J.C. Penney Company, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, September 27, 2018, Jeffrey A. (Jeff) Davis leaves his post as chief financial officer at the department store company after about a year in the role, effective October 1, 2018.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CFOs who departed over the past 12 months was 6.8 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 13 percent of the CFOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within two years, and 25 percent left the position within three years.

J.C. Penney will undertake a search for a successor.

Davis’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Jerry Murray, currently senior vice president of finance of J.C. Penney Company, Inc., as interim chief financial officer.

“To pursue another opportunity”

Davis’s imminent departure from the CFO post is explained as follows. J.C. Penney said: “Jeffrey Davis has informed the Company that he is resigning from his position as executive vice president and chief financial officer effective Oct. 1 to pursue another opportunity.”

The phrase “to pursue another opportunity” opens the door to speculation.

Precise information about Davis’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Resigning”

J.C. Penney said: “On September 25, 2018, Jeffrey Davis informed J. C. Penney Company, Inc. … that he is resigning from his position as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company to pursue another opportunity.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. since December 2016.

Chaired by Ronald W. Tysoe

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. is chaired by Ronald W. Tysoe.

In the position of CFO since 2017

Jeffrey A. Davis has been Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at J. C. Penney Co. Inc. since July 24, 2017.

Davis is responsible for all financial operations of the Company, including the oversight of controllers, internal audit, procurement, tax services, investor relations and more.

His primary objectives include continuing the Company’s progress in identifying earnings growth opportunities, optimizing pricing, exercising SG&A discipline, managing inventory levels and deleveraging debt.

Davis brings over 30 years of finance experience across multiple industries.

He most recently served as chief financial officer at Darden Restaurants, where he oversaw the company’s real estate acquisitions, as well as the restaurant development division.

Prior to Darden, Davis served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Walmart U.S. stores.

Upon joining Walmart in 2006, he served in roles of increasing responsibility in their finance division, including store operations, specialty businesses, strategy and treasury.

Before joining Walmart, Davis held finance-related positions with Lakeland Tours, McKesson Corporation and The Hillman Company.

Davis holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Pennsylvania State University and received his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Davis’ departure follows former Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison, who left the company in May to join home improvement chain Lowe’s Cos Inc.

At the time of Davis’s appointment as chief financial officer at J.C. Penney, Ellison had said: “On behalf of the board of directors and executive leadership, I’m pleased to welcome Jeff to JCPenney. He brings decades of finance, treasury and strategy experience from a host of leading companies, and will make an outstanding addition to our team. Jeff’s expertise will also be a tremendous asset to JCPenney as we continue to differentiate our business in a competitive retail climate and further strengthen our balance sheet moving forward.”

At the time of his appointment as chief financial officer at J.C. Penney, Davis had said: “JCPenney is a mainstay in American retailing, and I’m proud to have the opportunity to sustain its rich legacy alongside a group of dedicated associates committed to differentiating the Company from its traditional competitors. I look forward to working with our teams in Plano and Salt Lake to continue strengthening the financial position of JCPenney, further propelling the Company’s momentum.”

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Jeff Davis’s imminent move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 40.2018 ($).