June 19, 2012, 4:31 PM

That didn’t last long: J.C. Penney’s president leaves after less than a year on the job

Michael Francis was hired away from Target by CEO Ron Johnson.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Michael Francis

Get your scorecards handy: J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has made another major change to its executive roster. The retail chain, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says that Michael Francis has stepped down from his job as president. CEO Ron Johnson takes his place.

Johnson will have direct responsibility for the chain’s marketing and merchandising. J.C. Penney gave no reason for the departure of Francis, who was hired last fall. “We thank Michael for his hard work and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Johnson says.

Francis came from Target Corp., where he was vice president and chief marketing officer.

Johnson, who worked at both Target and Apple Inc. before becoming CEO at J.C. Penney, earlier this year recruited another Target veteran: the chain’s director of fashion and design partnerships, Brian Robinson, who is now Penney’s vice president of collaborations.  Johnson also has made other top-level hires, including of Apple veteran Mike Fisher, who became J.C. Penney’s senior vice president of visual presentation.

Early this year, Johnson unveiled simplified pricing and a revamped marketing approach in a bid to make the chain more relevant in a retail world that is increasingly embracing e-commerce.

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