Jeffrey Davis, former CFO of Darden Restaurants, was named the finance chief of struggling retailer J.C. Penney on Monday.
He replaces former CFO Edward Record. Andrew Dexler, who was in the job on an interim basis after Record’s resignation earlier this month, will return to his role as the retailer’s controller and chief accounting officer.
In a press release, the company said Davis will try to identify earnings growth opportunities for the ailing retailer, optimize pricing, manage expenses and inventory levels, and deleverage the company’s balance sheet.
“JCPenney is a mainstay in American retailing, and I’m proud to have the opportunity to sustain its rich legacy alongside a group of dedicated associates committed to differentiating the company from its traditional competitors,” Davis said in the press release. “I look forward to working with our teams in Plano and Salt Lake to continue strengthening the financial position of JCPenney, further propelling the company’s momentum.”
Davis spent more than nine years at Walmart, the last year and a half as CFO of the company’s U.S. stores division. He was named CFO of Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, in July 2015.
In September 2015, CFO named him a CFO to Watch, noting that, “it’s hard to predict how anyone will fare in Darden’s fast-changing culture. Last October , shareholders ousted the company’s entire board of directors by electing the 12 nominees of activist investor Starboard Value. In February the new board hired a new CEO, Gene Lee, who has been making wholesale changes to company operations.”
Eight months later, Davis resigned from Darden.
J.C. Penney continues to try to innovate to counter online competitors and revive the brand. In mid-July it announced plans to open toy shops in all of its bricks-and-mortar locations. It has also doubled its online toy assortment. This week, it announced that its stores nationwide would be accepting Apple Pay and making J.C. Penney credit cards available on the mobile payment service.