JC Penney CFO Hannah leaving the company

PLANO, Texas (AP) — J.C. Penney has replaced its chief financial officer, the latest move by the struggling department store operator as tries to improve its results.

Chief Financial Officer Ken Hannah, 45, is leaving the company and will be replaced by Ed Record, 45. He was previously chief operating officer at department store chain Stage Stores. The move is effective March 24.

Record will be responsible for J.C. Penney Co.’s financial operations and will report to CEO Mike Ullman. Hannah will remain CFO during the transition process. The company did not give a reason for his departure.

Sterne Agee analyst Charles Grom said the move was a “positive development” for J.C. Penney.

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“Mr. Record is very well respected throughout the industry and will add a critical layer of capital discipline that J.C. Penney requires at this stage of the game,” he said. “Looking ahead, if CEO Mike Ullman can surround himself with additional hires in the coming months, the outlook for J.C. Penney will certainly improve.”

J.C. Penney is trying to recover from changes made by former CEO Ron Johnson, who tried to steer the chain away from coupons and discounts and revamped stores with an airier format. But customers who wanted coupons and deals fled. Johnson was ousted last April after 17 months on the job, and the company brought back Ullman as CEO.

There have been some encouraging signs. Earlier this month the Plano, Texas-based company said sales in established stores rose 2 percent during the key holiday selling quarter which runs November through January. It was the first increase in the key selling measure in two years. But it was a smaller gain than analysts were expecting.

Shares fell 4 cents to $5.92 in afternoon trading. Its shares have fallen almost 70 percent since a year ago.

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