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Case Code: CLHR002
Case Length: 5 pages 
Period: ---  
Pub Date: 2008
Teaching Note: Not Available
Subject : Human Resources/ Organization Behavior
Organization :--
Industry :Retail
Countries : --

High-Profile Executive's Exit The Perils of Switching Industries?*



Organizations were increasingly becoming intolerant of errors and even top-level employees were expected to hit the ground running. With there being no “honeymoon period”, even top level executives had to perform or perish. Catherine West, a highflier in the banking and financial services sector, found out the hard way when she joined department store chain JC Penney. However, West was just one of the many high-fliers who could not spend even one year in a company in 2006.
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  • Hiring/Firing
  • Skill distribution at various management levels
  • Hiring from other industries
  • Switching industries
On December 28, 2006, JC Penney Corporation, Inc. (JCP) announced that it had fired its COO, Catherine West (West). No reason was cited for the action. West was looking after store operations, property development, and logistics.
Questions for Discussion:
1. What lessons can be learnt from the high profile firing of JCP’s COO Catherine West within six months of her joining the company? Do you think it is worthwhile recruiting people from other industries in high positions?

2. Is switching industries a good option for a professional who is on a growth curve in his/her career in a particular industry? Discuss in the light of the Catherine West episode at JCP.



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