JCPenney Turns to Kraft’s Debra Berman for Marketing

Struggling retailer looks to branding vet for comeback

JCPenney has turned to Kraft's Debra Berman, an executive with deep brand and agency experience, to direct the struggling department store giant's comeback.

At Penney, Berman is svp of marketing.  Her appointment comes on the heels of the Plano, Texas-based chain's return to its longtime discount-driven strategy—ditched 18 months ago only to yield extremely poor results.

This is just the latest development in a year of change for Penney's, following the April firing of CEO Ron Johnson and the rehire of longtime chief exec Mike Ullman. Berman worked for agencies including DDB and Saatchi & Saatchi before joining Kraft in 2009.

"Her broad experience and success as a marketing strategist for major consumer brands make her the ideal leader to help us continue to reconnect with our core customer through effective promotions and campaigns that will increase excitement and loyalty now and over the long term," said Ullman.

Berman said her plan includes "targeted campaigns that creatively highlight our unique and authentic combination of style, quality and value."

With back-to-school shopping—long an important event on the Penney's calendar—now in full swing, Berman no doubt will hit the ground running.