OPERATIONS

Ackman quits J.C. Penney board

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York — J.C. Penney Co. announced that activist investor and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has resigned from the board of directors of the company, effective Aug. 12. His resignation comes in the wake of a very public and heated campaign in which he called for the ouster of Penney interim CEO Myron Ullman and chairman Thomas Engibous.

Penney said that retail veteran Ronald W. Tysoe, who spent 16 years as vice chairman at Federated Department Stores Inc. (now Macy’s, Inc.), has been elected to the board, effective Aug. 12. Penney’s board also "reaffirmed its overwhelming support" for Ullman and Engibous.

“The company is extremely fortunate to have the benefit of Ron Tysoe’s judgment and experience at this important time,” Engibous said. “His deep knowledge of the retail industry and his financial expertise will be invaluable to us as we continue the work underway to return J. C. Penney to profitability and growth. I would like to thank Bill Ackman for his service on the board over the past two years."

In addition, Penney’s board said that it intends to name another new director in the near future.

Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management owns about 18% of J.C. Penney and is the company’s biggest shareholder, told CNBC he had made some important issues public and the board would now function better without him.

In a statement released by Penney, Ackman said: “During my time on the J.C. Penney board of directors, I have always advocated for what I believe to be in the best interests of the company — its stockholders, employees and others. At this time, I believe that the addition of two new directors and my stepping down from the board is the most constructive way forward for J.C. Penney and all other parties involved.”

Longtime retail analyst Walter Loeb, of Loeb Associates, said Ackman’s presence on the board had been disruptive, Bloomberg reported.

“He caused so much uncertainty in the company,” said Loeb. “Tysoe is well regarded in the retail industry and will bring a calm, measured company…”

Although some analysts noted that Ackman’s resignation will give Pershing Square more latitude to begin selling its stake in the company, Ackman seemed to brush off the idea in his interview with CNBC.

“If I wanted to sell I could have sold all along during the quarterly window,” Ackman told CNBC.

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OPERATIONS

Brooks Brothers names new CMO, COO and CIO

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Brooks Brothers has named Vivien Kronengold as the company’s executive VP and chief marketing officer, a newly created position. The company also appointed Mauro Calderan as COO. Calderon previously served as senior VP, distribution and logistics.

The appointments come less than a week after Brooks Brothers president and COO Diane Ellis was named CEO at the Limited.

Kronengold was most recently chief marketing officer at C Wonder. Prior to that she held senior marketing positions at Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph Lauren.

In other appointments, Sahal Laher recently joined Brooks Brothers as the company’s CIO. Laher previously held the same position at Stride Rite Corporation.

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Gap in big marketing push; returning to TV ads

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Gap is celebrating its brand heritage with a fall global marketing campaign – Back to Blue – that is one of the broadest reaching in its history. The campaign spans outdoor, direct, social, in store, digital and also includes a return to television.

"Back to Blue means getting back to what matters most – our truest selves, when we are most comfortable in our own skin," said Seth Farbman, Gap’s Global chief marketing officer. "It’s both a statement of how we feel as a brand, and how our customers want to live their lives and make their decisions."

The campaign includes new digital content every day, across many global platforms, including a partnership with Tumblr’s mobile platform. Gap has also updated its Styld.by platform – which partners with popular bloggers and style experts to curate the best fall looks – to include video, with a series on style advice from the costume designer for HBO’s hot show, “Girls.”

Extensive lo-fi digital content features 24 influential Millennials sharing simple, raw and relatable stories about what it means to be one’s most authentic self. Each wears their favorite pieces from the fall Back to Blue collection in short films, photographs and animated GIFs.

Kicking off with highly visible outdoor advertising in its top markets and magazine advertising in August issues worldwide, campaign features clothing from Gap’s fall collection, which is rooted in denim, chambray and classic Gap items. Debuting on TV for the first time in four years, the Back to Blue TV spots will be launched in mid-September.

Starting immediately, Gap is launching a contest on Tumblr, which encourages digital artists to share what Back to Blue means to them by creating an original piece of content. On Aug. 29, the winning works will be featured on Gap’s Tumblr and turned into Tumblr mobile ads. This is the first time a brand will own all of Tumblr’s mobile ads in one day.

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