Impatient Ackman Sacks Interim JCP CEO Ullman, Approaches Ex-CEO Questrom As Chairman, Demands New CEO Stat

The latest news surrounding the sinking retail ship known as JC Penney will come as no surprise to those who have seen the chart we posted previously, namely the exodus of executives who have left the firm in just the past few months:

The news, in question, reported by CNBC is that Ackman, apparently disgusted with the performance of JCP stock, has just sacked the interim CEO, Mike Ullman, he appointed in April and has sent a letter to JCP that a new CEO should be in place in 30-45 days, and also that former CEO Questerom has agreed been approached to return as Chairman.

That's all great but we have two questions:

  • Shouldn't the next CEO of JCP be really the Chief Restructuring Officer, and as such be appointed by the ad hoc or official, committee of unsecured creditors (aka the post-petition equity)? After all everyone knows how this story ends. And in that regard, we are confident Alix Partners has quite a few retail Chief Restructuring Officers in its rolodex.
  • Has Ackman sued Ullman? Considering the petulant hedge fund manager's recent M.O., this would be the logical move.
  • Finally, if Ackman is so confident in the retailer, instead of diluting others perhaps he should just invest his entire net worth and prefund the company's cash burn for one more year. After all, what's the risk, right?

That said, providing shorts with a higher point from which to reshort JCP is always a welcome development.


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