JCPenney’s Top Marketer Resigns After Only 9 Months

Shawn Gensch was the third chief customer officer hired in less than five years

Photo of Shawn Gensch next to a shopping card with the J.C. Penney logo
Shawn Gensch was hired to fill out J.C. Penney's executive leadership team last summer. He was deemed a "vital component" by the retailer's CEO. Getty Images

JCPenney’s third chief customer officer in less than five years has left the Texas-based department store chain after only nine months on the job.

The Dallas Morning News first reported Shawn Gensch’s resignation on Tuesday. The news comes just weeks after the retailer confirmed the executive appointments of six vice presidents, two of whom were hired to “round out” Gensch’s senior marketing team. The new team includes Jill Feldman, vp of marketing; Roger Worak, vp of customer engagement and insights; Dan Matarelli, vp of digital marketing, and Robin Beuthin, vp of creative marketing.

In a statement, JCPenney thanked Gensch “for his contributions in developing the Plan for Renewal,” which is the retailer’s strategy to grow its traffic, enhance the shopping experience and for “building a strong team of marketing leaders.” JCPenney declined to comment and answer questions about the company’s plan for the CCO position or about who would fill the position as the company’s top marketer in the interim.

Prior to being hired at JCPenney in June, Gensch spent four years as chief customer officer at Sprouts Farmers Market. He worked in various marketing and business development roles at Target for a decade. At JCPenney, Gensch was tasked with growing traffic, improving customer retention, revitalizing the brand’s creative approach to advertising and revamping the retailer’s digital presence.

Gensch joined JCPenney’s executive leadership team after Marci Grebstein departed in 2019 after serving as evp, chief marketing officer for two years. She succeeded Mary Beth West, who was also with the company for just two years.

JCPenney’s shares are currently trading at less than a dollar. In 2013, 24/7 Wall St. predicted JCPenney was one of the brands that would die in the next year. So far, the brand has disproved that hypothesis, but now it risks being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, according to Yahoo Finance.

@monicroqueta Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.