New York, NY, United States (4E) – Vornado Realty Trust Chief Executive Steven Roth resigned from the board of J.C. Penney Co. on Friday, and became the second major investor in the department-store chain to make an exit in recent weeks.
In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Vornado said it plans to drop its J.C. Penney stake in the “not-too-distant future”. The filing also shows that the real estate investment trust’s holding is around 6.1 percent. That makes them the retailer’s sixth biggest investor, according to Bloomberg News data.
Mr. Roth’s decision comes just a few weeks after the resignation of hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman from J.C. Penney’s board over a disagreement about the retailer’s direction and soon after he sold nearly 18 percent of his fund’s holdings in the company. His fund, Pershing Square Capital Management LP, lost more than $600mn because of this unsuccessful investment on J.C. Penney.
Pershing Square and Vornado joined Penney’s board in February 2011, and within months the retailer named former Apple Inc. retail executive Ron Johnson as CEO.
Mr. Johnson’s aggressive plan sought to overhaul the chain’s store layouts, pricing and merchandise. While these initiatives resulted to losing regular customers, they also did not attract enough new ones, leading to 25 percent decline in sales and a net loss of $985mn in 2012.