business news in context, analysis with attitude

William Ackman, who owns 18 percent of JC Penney through his Pershing Square Capital Management company, has resigned from the retailer's board, effective immediately.

He will be succeeded by Ronald Tysoe, the former CFO of Federated Department Stores and CEO of Campeau Corp. JC Penney said that it will name another new member of the board shortly.

Ackman has been engaged in an internal debate at JC Penney as he has been calling for the replacement of CEO Myron Ullman, who was the CEO replaced by Ron Johnson, formerly of the Apple Stores, who was brought in - at Ackman's behest - to reinvent the department store chain and move it away from its discounts-and-promotions approach to marketing. When that didn't work out - sales, traffic and profits plummeted - Johnson was fired and Ullman was rehired. Ackman released a letter to the media last week in which he said that a new leader should be found within a matter of months, but that a search committee and headhunter firm hired by the board "have barely begun their work."
KC's View:
JCP needs two things in a new board member. They need someone who is a great merchant. And they need someone who needs to cut through all the political crap inside the company. The company doesn't have a big window in which to fix its problems, and they need to do something with the board that will actually help give the company some sort of direction.