Marvin Ellison’s Story is Classic J.C. Penney
Marvin Ellison didn’t start out in a cushy executive training program after his parents paid to send him to an elite college. No, Ellison has one of those other storybook backgrounds, the kind that inspire us to plant the American flag in our front yards on federal holidays. He’s the real American dream, and he’s about to step into a job leading a department store brand that’s the apple pie of its industry. At this point in its 113-year history, if J.C. Penney is going to survive and thrive as a store that serves middle-income America, it’s good that the team leader has lived the life. Ellison, 50, was the fourth of seven children raised in a small town northeast of Memphis that recently installed its third stoplight.