Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management has just resigned from the board of J.C. Penney.
The resignation comes following a series of decisions made by the company that were outside the normal managerial process.
Ronald W. Tysoe, former vice chairman of Federated Department Stores Inc. (now Macy’s, Inc.), was elected to the board – the company states that it will be seeking a new director in the near future.
The chairman of the company, Thomas Engibous, believes that the J.C. Penney is very fortunate to be having Ron Tysoe on the board, especially given his years of experience – over 20 years of retail, finance and real estate investment industry experience.
Bill Ackman had previously publicly disclosed two letters sent to the directors asking for the departure of of the interim chief executive, Myron E. Ullman III, and the chairman, Thomas J. Engibous.
Bill Ackman accused Mr. Engibous of running a dysfunctional board and suggested that he be replaced by Allen Questrom.
However, the board insists that the company’s recent troubles are mainly due to Mr. Ackman bringing in Ron Johnson as chief.
Mr. Johnson was Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Apple Inc, however, he made changes to J.C. Penney that were somewhat controversial, such as ending discounted sales, which resulted in the company losing a significant chunk of its customer base.
Reactions from the board members
Mr. Engibous added:
“The Company is extremely fortunate to have the benefit of Ron Tysoe’s judgment and experience at this important time. 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.”
Bill 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.”