Marvin Ellison is a business executive who formerly held the position of Chief Executive Officer of J.C. Penney. In July 2018, he joined Lowe’s and became their President and Chief Executive Officer. This was a highly publicized move and many people became interested in this businessman. Despite his current high profile, there are probably many things that people do not know about this man. Here are ten interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about Marvin Ellison.
1. He is From a Large Family
As a child, Ellison’s life was very different from what it is now. He was born to a poor family in Tennessee and is one of seven children. His father had to work multiple jobs to support his family and Ellison had to work while attending college. Ellison has said that this was not a bad thing as it gave him the experience he needed to advance into a corporate career.
2. He is One of Only 5 African American CEOs on the Fortune 500 Greatest Leaders List
One of Marvin Ellison’s accolades is that he is one of only a handful of African-American men to have made it onto the Fortune 500 Greatest Leaders List. On the 2016 version of this list, there were only four other African-American CEOs included on the list and Marvin Ellison was ranked in 9th position.
3. He Studied at the University of Memphis
Prior to beginning his corporate career, Marvin Ellison studied at the University of Memphis where he earned a degree in business administration. He then went on to achieve his MBA at the Emory University.
4. He Has a Musical Background
One of the most surprising facts about Marvin Ellison, considering his corporate career, is that he has a background in music. When he was growing up, he would perform alongside his family in a gospel act. Music has remained a lifelong passion for this businessman.
5. He is a Family Man
Although Marvin Ellison has a very demanding working life, he still has time for his family. He is happily married to his wife, Sharyn, who he met while they were both attending the University of Memphis. The couple has a son and a daughter together.
6. He Met Donald Trump for a Debate on Tax Reform
As a high-profile corporate figure, Ellison was invited to join a group of retailers to meet with legislators and President Donald Trump to discuss tax reform in February 2017. Following this meeting, Ellison expressed the opinion that a border adjustment tax would have a negative impact on consumers in the United States and that it would make it difficult for companies such as J.C. Penney to remain profitable.
7. He Has Worked for Both Home Depot and Target
Marvin Ellison is best-known for his positions at Lowe’s and J.C. Penney. However, he also worked at both Home Depot and Target. He worked in the loss prevention department of the Target Corporation between 1997 and 2002 when he moved to Home Depot as an executive. He was employed by Home Depot until 2014 when he landed his role at J.C. Penney.
8. He Believes That Online and Bricks-and-Mortar Retail Are Not Separate Entities
Many companies treat the online aspect of their business separately to the bricks-and-mortar side of their company. Ellison believes that this is the wrong way to go about business and that the focus should be on the two segments working collaboratively to complement each other.
9. He Supports Diversity
As Ellison is one of only a handful of African American CEOs for major companies, he is often asked about diversity in the workplace. He has always replied that diversity is important and that someone’s talent is what should get them ahead, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or sexuality. If someone is good at their job, Ellison believes they deserve the opportunity to succeed.
Since landing the role of president and CEO of Lowe’s Ellison has said that the hardest part of his job has been getting his associates to share his vision and his goals. He is trying to listen and communicate but appreciates they have had a rough ride in recent years and need the motivation to move forward in a new way and face the challenges head-on.