J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), the embattled century old department store chain is close to hiring a new chief marketing executive as the it needs to improve its marketing campaigns particularly during the upcoming holiday season.

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney persuading Debra Berman

According to report from Ad Age, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is persuading Debra Berman, vice president, marketing strategy and engagement at Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT). Two executives close to the department store chain said Berman was seen at J.C. Penney headquarters in Plano Texas.

The executives also said that Berman has a connection with one of the company’s board of directors–Mary Beth West, chief category and marketing officer at Mondelez International, Inc (NASDAQ:MDLZ), which was spun off from Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT) in October.

If Berman agrees to accept the offer of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) to head its marketing department, she will supervise a small number of senior staffs. Many of the company’s top marketing executives left the company including Eric Hunter, senior VP-marketing, Sissie Twiggs, VP- media for digital marketing, Greg Clark, senior VP-creative marketing, and Lisa DeSrefano-Orebaugh, VP-strategic marketing.

No Chief Marketing Officer was hired by J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) did not hire a chief marketing officer since the retirement of Mike Boylson two years ago. Former J.C. Penney president, Michael Francis, a former executive from Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) was brought into the company to remake the J.C. Penney’s brand. During his tenure 13-months, he supervised the marketing, merchandising, and product development of the department store chain. He resigned from the company in October last year.

Berman has been an executive of Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT) since 2009. Her first designation in the food company was senior director-global planning and strategy. She served as de facto CMO for Kraft Foods when it became a newly standalone public company, and oversaw the daily marketing activities of the company. In January, the food company promoted Deanie Elsner as CMO.

Before joining Kraft Foods Group Inc (NASDAQ:KRFT), Berman worked at DDB, and Y&R, Lintas and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Currently, J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) is receiving marketing advice on an interim basis from Jeff Herbert, former Aflac CMO. His contract with the department store chain will end this month. Sergio Zyman, former marketing chief of The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) still serves as consultant.