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CEO Marvin Ellison to Exit J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney chairman and CEO is set to return to his roots.

The retailer announced Tuesday that Marvin Ellison has resigned his post as chairman and CEO. Ellison’s last day as chief executive will be June 1. He vacates the post of chairman immediately.

Ellison is leaving to join Lowe’s Companies.

The department store’s board of directors has elected Ronald W. Tysoe, the current lead independent director, as chairman. CEO duties will be carried out by a group comprised of chief financial officer Jeff Davis, chief customer officer Joe McFarland, chief information officer and chief digital officer Therace Risch, and executive vice president of supply chain Mike Ribbons.

The retailer has formed a search committee to find its next CEO.

“I want to thank Marvin for his many significant contributions to J.C. Penney over the past three years. During his tenure, the company retired $1.4 billion in debt, renewed and enhanced its revolving credit facility and has significantly strengthened the company’s financial position,” Tysoe said. “Additionally, he assembled a strong leadership team that will continue to serve the company in an elevated capacity to ensure the entire organization remains focused on our customer and improving results. We thank Marvin for his leadership and dedication, and wish him much success in his next endeavor.”

Ellison, who joined the company in November 2014, was named to the role after serving as executive vice president of stores at Home Depot. In all, he worked at the home improvement company for 12 years. Prior to Home Depot, Ellison spent 15 years at Target.

He succeeded Mike Ullman, III as CEO later that year.

Ellison was tapped for his expertise in store operations and supply chain management. During his tenure at JCP, he’s worked to turn the department store around, fighting the same macro battles like sales erosion due to e-commerce as well as evolving shopping habits that have threatened its competitors. He worked to bolster the apparel business with the injection of activewear and plus-size fashion while capitalizing on the holes left by declining retailers in categories like home maintenance and repairs and toys.