Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Sweney
Liz Sweney is recognized as a magnet for opportunities to deliver bottom line results whether in a leadership position or governance role. Most recently, Liz was EVP & Chief Merchant at JCPenney driving strategies for up to $18 billion in annual revenues spanning stores and e-Commerce for all merchandise categories. She presented at Board of Directors meetings for over a decade, gaining broad exposure to Board activities and decision making. Liz’s relationships with key suppliers and external partners enabled JCPenney to keep the best mix of merchandise in the stores during the company’s most recent turnaround.
After Mike Ullman returned to JCPenney in 2013, he tapped Liz to co-chair The Warrior Project, an innovative associate program that was instrumental in reinvigorating employee morale across the organization, stem talent flight and refocus energies on turning around the company.
As a champion for building bench strength, developing high potential leaders and comprehensive succession planning, Liz was a “net positive” contributor to JCPenney’s talent pool in all the positions she held. She was initially hired to lead the transformation of the company from decentralization to centralization for merchandising that was fundamental to the successful turnaround of the company by 2004. She also helped to create the JCPenney Ethics Committee and served on it for 10 years.
Before joining JCPenney in 2000, she held executive leadership roles at Kellwood Company. She began her career with Montgomery Ward working her way up through various departments to Senior Vice President of Women’s Apparel.
Liz was named “Retailer of the Year” in 2010 by Fashion Delivers and took the podium with Tommy Hilfiger as the “Designer of the Year”. She was also chosen by the Dallas Business Journal as “Top Business Woman of the Year, 2012”. Liz holds a BA in political science from The College of New Rochelle and completed the Executive Program in Strategy & Organization at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She completed the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management’s corporate governance program in 2016. Liz is an active member of NACD and will obtain Fellowship Credential in 2016. For four years, Liz served on the Board of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County, Texas and continues to serve on its Advisory Board.