CEOs representing the retail industry met February 15 with President Trump at the White House to discuss cutting taxes and regulations to stimulate job growth. The CEOs from several major retailers included Marvin Ellison, current CEO for JCPenney, who started his career in loss prevention with Target and advanced to vice president of Home Depot’s loss prevention organization prior to moving into several executive-level retail positions. Ellison joined JCPenney as CEO in July 2015.
The meeting was orchestrated by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), which is attempting to educate Congress and the new administration on the negative effect of the proposed border adjustment tax on the cost of retail goods offered by US retailers. According to a RILA press release, President Trump acknowledged that retail supports “millions and millions” of jobs. The discussion related to the border adjustment tax was not released to the public.
LP Magazine reached out to Ellison for comment, but a JCPenney media representative deferred to RILA for comment. After the meeting, RILA Chairman Bill Rhodes, CEO of AutoZone, issued the following statement:
“Today, we had a positive and productive conversation with President Trump about the important role the retail industry plays in our national economy.
“We stressed the importance of taking a thoughtful approach to tax reform for both individuals and corporations.
“The retail industry is the nation’s largest private sector employer providing and supporting more than 42 million American jobs. The President understands we support pro-growth policies that we believe will lead to greater domestic investment.
“We look forward to working with the President and his administration on the issues of importance for our industry, our employees and American working families, who by and large are our customers.”
Other retail executives in the meeting included Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck, Jo-Ann Stores CEO Jill Soltau, Target CEO Brian Cornell, Tractor Supply CEO Gregory Sandfort, and Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina.The delegation was accompanied by RILA Executive Vice President Jennifer Safavian.
Following the meeting at the White House, the group went to Capitol Hill to meet with Chairman Orrin Hatch, Senate Committee on Finance (R-UT), Chairman Kevin Brady, House Committee on Ways and Means (R-TX), Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).