DI People: Penney Names Interim CFO, Ebby Halliday Taps New CEO, Jacobs Appoints 3 Execs

Also, you’ll find leadership appointments and changes at SMU, the University of Texas at Dallas, Fears Nachawait, and Paradigm Tax Group in this roundup of people news in North Texas.

Across North Texas, companies are promoting and hiring people to take on leadership positions within their organizations. Dallas Innovates covers prominent personnel moves in Dallas-Fort Worth businesses and nonprofits — from the newest startups to well-established companies. Here are people moves tied to innovation and technology in the region. 

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J.C. Penney taps Fung as interim chief financial officer

Michael Fung

Plano-based retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. announced that Michael Fung has been named as interim CFO. He’s the second interim CFO for J.C. Penney in less than a month, Nasdaq reported.

Jerry Murray was appointed as interim CFO earlier this month after Jeffrey Davis announced he planned to step down on Oct. 1. 

Fung has more than 40 years of finance experience over multiple retail and consumer organizations. Most recently, he served as interim CFO at Dallas-based luxury retailer Neiman Marcus and 99 Cents Only Stores after retiring from Walmart.

Penney has been busy in October making executive moves. Earlier this month, the company appointed Jill Soltau as the company’s new chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors. The 30-year retail veteran replaced Marvin Ellison, who left to lead home improvement company Lowe’s.

Ebby Halliday Companies names new CEO


Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly has been named to lead Ebby Halliday Companies as chief executive officer, replacing longtime president and CEO Mary Frances Burleson.

Burleson left her post to work for the Ebby Halliday Foundation.

Most recently, Kelly was senior counsel at HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and the parent company of the Ebby Halliday Companies. Previously, he worked with ReeceNichols Real Estate, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HomeServices. 

Founded in 1945 by legendary Dallas real estate entrepreneur Ebby Halliday, the Ebby Halliday Companies acquired Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate in 2007 and Williams Trew in 2014. Earlier this year, it was acquired by the HomeServices.

Jacobs Engineering announces 3 executive promotions

Dallas-based international technical professional services firm Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. announced three executive appointments aimed at expanding high-margin growth in the professional services sector.

Marietta Hannigan

Marietta Hannigan was promoted to chief strategy and communications officer and will lead the development, articulation, and execution of Jacobs’ brand leadership, corporate strategy, and portfolio transformation. Hannigan will capitalize on attractive, nontraditional growth opportunities — while playing to Jacobs’ unique strengths — that ultimately expand the company’s capacity for superior value creation.

Darren Kraabel was promoted to chief technology and innovation officer, leading a new corporate function driving the company’s transformation into an innovative, data-driven provider. Kraabel will build on the catalyst of Jacobs’ connected enterprise solutions strategy, which addresses clients’ highest-priority needs associated with urbanization, resource scarcity, security, and widening workforce gaps. 

Madhuri Andrews

Madhuri Andrews has joined Jacobs as chief information officer and will lead the development of Jacobs’ IT organization and systems as key enablers of efficiency and innovation, the company said in the release. In this role, she will optimize Jacobs’ data architecture and platforms as a competitive advantage to enhance agility and operational excellence with seamless, mobile collaboration throughout Jacobs’ global supply chain.

SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering adds 2 to faculty

The Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University has announced two faculty additions with strong research backgrounds.

Nico Makris

Nicos Makris has joined the Lyle School of Engineering as the Addy Family Centennial Professor in Civil Engineering. J.-C. Chiao has joined the school as the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair and Professor in Electrical Engineering. 

Makris is a renowned authority on earthquake engineering, and his research interests are in the protection and design of structures against natural and human-made hazards. SMU said that Makris’ contributions in his field relate to the analysis and design of seismic-isolated and rocking structures — from tall bridge piers, to rocking walls in buildings, to what part soil-structure interaction plays. He is also an authority on the reconstruction and preservation of ancient monuments and stone arches in areas with high seismic hazards. 

J.-C. Chiao

Chiao comes to Lyle as a pioneering researcher with multidisciplinary expertise in microwaves, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), electromagnets, instrumentation, and nanotechnology. According to SMU, his inventions improve medical diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment sensors and devices, and have been applied to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, neural implants for pain management, prostate cancer metastasis risk assessment, and flexible biomarker sensors.

2 new tenure track faculty join UT Dallas

Two new tenure-track faculty members have joined the faculty of The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communications at the University of Texas at Dallas, where they will teach and conduct research in their respective fields.

Heidi Cooley

Wendy Sung

Heidi Cooley is now an associate professor of critical media studies and co-director of the Public Interactive Research Lab. Previously, she was associate professor of media arts and film and media studies at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include: media theory, mobile technologies, urban screens and sentient (‘smart’) environments, place-based digital cultural heritage, habit and habit change, and surveillance/tracking.

Wendy Sung is assistant professor of critical media studies. Previously, she was the University of California President’s postdoctoral fellow at UC Riverside. Her research interests include the histories of racial formation, cultural studies, digital media studies, cultural memory and specatorship practices, comparative ethnic studies, racial violence, and visuality.

Former DOJ litigator joins Fears Nachawati in Dallas

Former U.S. Department of Justice litigator Jonathan Novak has joined Dallas’ Fears Nachawati as an associate.

Jonathan Novak

The law firm said that Novak will increase the firm’s ability to offer representation involving opioid and mass tort litigation in Texas and throughout the nation.

“Jonathan has served our nation well in the fight against opioids,” Bryan Fears, founding partner at Fears Nachawati, said in a statement. He pointed out the role that Novak played in an investigation detailing how opioid distributors worked with a handful of lawmakers to push through a law that stripped the DEA of its authority.

Dunlap rejoins Paradigm Tax Group as adviser to board

Bob Dunlap has rejoined Paradigm Tax Group as a strategic adviser to the board of directors, helping the company identify and evaluate long-term opportunities in commercial real estate and property tax services.

Dunlap has 25 years of experience as a leader in the commercial real estate and property tax industry. He led KPMG’s national property tax practice beginning in 1992, and later founded Paradigm Tax Group in 2004. He retired from a formal role in the company in 2014.


DI People: Kimberly-Clark Names New Chief Executive, Lifeblue Taps New CEO

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