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PLANO, TX-Ken C. Hicks has resigned from his post as president and chief merchandising officer with J C Penney Co. Inc. to accept the position of CEO with a publically traded specialty retailer. His resignation from the job, and his position on the company’s board, is effective July 6.

A press release from corporate headquarters said C Penney chairman and CEO Myron E. Ullman III will take over Hicks’ responsibilities while a successor is sought. The release said that an executive search for a replacement will soon be underway.

Hicks joined JC Penney in 2002 as president and CEO of the company’s stores and merchandise operations. He was promoted in 2005 to president and chief merchandising officer. Before coming on board at J C Penney, Hicks was president of Payless ShoeSource Inc., now known as Collective Brands Inc.

“JC Penney’s board of directors and Associates are grateful for Ken’s dedicated service and contributions to JC Penney’s success and wish him the best of luck in his new position,” Ullman said in a prepared statement. “We have a strong leadership team in place and look forward to adding to it in the near future with a worthy successor to Ken.”

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