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Penney’s chief technology officer out

Plano, Texas -- Another executive hired by former J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson has apparently left the chain. Kristen Blum, executive VP and chief technology officer, is no longer with Penney, according to various reports that cited a note to investors by Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig. Penney has yet to officially announce her departure, which was also reported by Women’s Wear Daily.

Blum joined Penney in January 2012, from PepsiCo., where she was  CIO of the  company’s Enterprise Transformation unit. From 2006 to 2010, she was senior VP, chief information officer at Abercrombie & Fitch. Prior to that, Blum spent four years at Apple, as director of supply chain solutions and international retail.

Blum, who is on the National Retail Federation’s CIO Council, leaves Penney at a crucial time: The chain has embarked on an extensive IT overhaul, adopting a full suite of systems from Oracle.

Wienswig’s report noted that Penney has struggled to drive Web traffic, citing flat web traffic in April and three consecutive months of declining growth, according to comScore data. In a conference call last month, new CEO Ullman said that fixing Penney’s online storefront was a top priority.

Weinswig described Penney’s IT overhaul as a “heart transplant” for the company.

“While CEO Mike Ullman continues to put the old band back together again, we would be encouraged to see him consider external Silicon Valley talent to quickly fill the position

 

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