J.C. Penney, Awash in Inventory, Wants a Chief Merchant After All

(Bloomberg) -- Hindsight is 20/20 for struggling retailer J.C. Penney Co.

The department-store chain, which has self-diagnosed itself as “over-assorted and heavy on inventory,” announced that it’s going to hire a chief merchant to help fix the problem. The funny thing is, it used to have one.

Just over a year ago, the retailer eliminated the position, citing a need to “streamline decision-making and promote greater agility within its merchandise buying teams.”

In addition to bringing back the chief merchant role, J.C. Penney said in a statement Monday that it’s adding a chief transformation officer, plus looking to fill a handful of other key senior management positions, from chief customer officer to senior vice president of planning and allocation.

The company has also been without a permanent chief financial officer for months. That search is “well underway and has surfaced many compelling candidates,” it said. But that’s not the only financial role it’s now advertising: Andrew Drexler, chief accounting officer and controller, will leave the company on March 31, leaving a new opening on the management bench.

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