EMBA alumnus Marvin Ellison was recently added to the World’s Greatest Leaders list. Ellison, 51, was a long-time executive at Home Depot before taking over at the top of J.C. Penny last year.
Not long ago, J.C. Penney looked like a failed department store destined to die. But Marvin Ellison, CEO since August after nine months as president, has engineered a stunning (if still early) turnaround, improving store layouts, fixing e-commerce operations, and chipping away at Penney’s huge debt. Shares are up 75% in 2016 on renewed optimism about the company. And Ellison owes much of his success to his belief in talking regularly to his troops in the field rather than issuing diktats from on high, an approach that has galvanized a workforce still traumatized by Penney’s near collapse.