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JCPenney Is Close to Making Key Marketing Hire

The chain hasn't had a head of marketing in over a year


J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP)Sources tell Ad Age that struggling discount retailer JCPenney (JCP) is preparing to hire a new marketing head. Leading the list of possible candidates for the role is current Kraft Foods (KRFT) Vice President of Marketing and Engagement, Debra Berman.

JCPenney wants to install a new marketing executive prior to the onset of the holiday shopping season, a critical period for any retailer and one that takes on added importance after JCPenney’s poor recent performance.

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Currently, JCPenney is receiving marketing guidance from former Aflac (AFL) executive Jeff Herbert. His contract with the chain expires at the end of this month. The company has been without a marketing head since Michael Francis was ousted last year.

Berman worked at a number of marketing firms, including Y&R, Saatchi & Saatchi and DDB, before joining Kraft in 2009.

JCPenney is trying to recover from a disastrous “no-sales” strategy implemented over the past two years by former CEO Ron Johnson, who was forced out earlier this year as quarterly losses soared.

Shares of JCPenney fell more than 1% in Monday morning trading.

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