Michael Francis leaves Target for J.C. Penney

New York City -- Longtime Target Corp. veteran and chief marketing officer Michael R. Francis on Monday resigned from the discounter and was named president of J.C. Penney Co., effective Oct. 4.

In his new position, Francis, 48, will be responsible for all merchandising, marketing, planning and allocation, and product development and sourcing functions. His appointment is seen as the handiwork of Penney’s incoming CEO, Ron Johnson, who is himself a former Target executive. Although Johnson is best known as the head of Apple stores, he previously served 15 years at Target, where he held various positions including VP merchandising.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to get back to department store retail,” Francis said in a statement. “I began my career working on the sales floor of the State Street Marshall Field's in Chicago. It was there where my passion for retail began and my understanding of the power and potential of the department store was formed.”

Francis began his marketing career in 1985 with Marshall Field’s, which in 1990 was acquired by Target. He was promoted to EVP marketing at Target in 2001, and was named CMO in 2008. In January 2011, he was charged with overseeing with Target’s entrance into the Canadian market.

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