Penney’s Axes COO West

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NEW YORK – J.C. Penney Co. on Thursday terminated Catherine West as its executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The areas that had reported to West – store operations, property development and logistics – will report to Myron Ullman 3rd, chairman and chief executive officer. Those areas had reported to Ullman prior to West’s appointment last July. West had reported to Ullman.

West came to Penney’s from Capital One Financial Corp. She joined the firm in 2000 and was president of its U.S. card business at the time of her departure. Earlier in her career, she had held positions with First USA Bank and Chevy Chase Bank FSB.

Penney’s announcement about West’s departure made no mention of succession plans, but a number of analysts, including Citigroup’s Deborah Weinswig, said that a search for a new COO is not expected.

“We believe this decision came as a result of Ms. West not being a good fit for the company,” Weinswig wrote. “Although this announcement was a surprise to us, we do not believe Ms. West’s departure represents a big loss for J.C. Penney, as she has only served and contributed in her role for about half a year.”

During her brief tenure at Penney’s, West was ranked number 46 on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 50 Most Powerful Women.

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