The new CEO of J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) has been making many changes at the retail giant. Ron Johnson is trying to bring in some of his magic from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and the company announced today that Michael Dastugue will be leaving the company, effective April 13. That is THIS FRIDAY by the way. Dastugue is the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
Some may consider a 20-year career end as a retirement, but it is obvious what is going on here. 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.
The company even noted that Chief Operating Officer Michael Kramer will assume the Chief Financial Officer duties in an interim capacity while a search for a new CFO is conducted.
Ron Johnson thanked Dastugue “for his many years of service over his 20-year career” and wished him “all the best in his future endeavors.”
Mr. Kramer recently joined jcpenney in December 2011, after previously serving for three years as president and chief executive officer of Kellwood Company and he had previously served as chief financial officer at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) and had ‘coincidentally’ previously served as the chief financial officer of Apple Retail. It would seem a natural fit that Kramer could have been CFO on his own merits and background.
It is obvious that Ron Johnson wants his own handpicked team from top to bottom here. This was a rapid departure, or a situation where Dastugue was pushed out. Either way, we consider this a force-out move. There is just no way around that argument from where we stand.
J.C. Penney shares are up 2.4% at $34.00 so far today but shares have not moved on the news.
JON C. OGG