Vanessa Castagna exiting JCPenney

PLANO , Texas — Vanessa Castagna, chairman and CEO of JCPenney stores, catalog, and Internet, is leaving the company when her contract expires — Sunday, Nov. 14.

Castagna, who joined JCPenney in 1999 prior to its turnaround process, was recently passed over for the corporate chairmanship and CEO post. That spot is being taken by former Macy's CEO Myron "Mike" Ullman III, effective Dec. 1.

"Vanessa has made an important contribution to JCPenney and its turnaround, and I am confident she will excel in whatever she does next," said Allen Questrom, outgoing chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney Inc.

In announcing her departure, Castagna said, "Working at JCPenney has been a tremendous experience. It has been a pleasure to lead such a fine group of associates, and I am proud of our many accomplishments together as we have worked to achieve the company's turnaround goals."

Ken Hicks, president and chief operating officer of JCPenney Stores and Merchandise Operations, will take on the added responsibility of leading JCPenney's stores, catalog, and Internet teams as a transitional step. Hicks, a member of the company's Executive Committee, joined JCPenney in 2002 from Payless Shoe Source, where he served as president. He has also held key leadership, merchandise, and operational roles at Home Shopping Network, Foley's Department Stores, and May Merchandising Company.

Castagna, who was a senior executive at Wal-Mart for several years before joining Penney, moves into the next phase of her career with one of the most powerful resumes in retailing. She did not indicate in her statement today what she plans to do next.

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