Paul McCartney weighs in on JCPenney CEO search

 Paul McCartney weighs in on JCPenney CEO search

Paul McCartney wants JCPenney to get by with a little help from his friend.

The former Beatle recently introduced his longtime buddy and retail honcho, Herbert L. Becker, to the new owners of the bankrupt department store, suggesting him as a candidate for the CEO job, The Post has learned.

McCartney made the introduction via email to Jamie Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group, a brand licensing firm that has deals with scores of celebrities and which recently bought JCPenney along with the mall operator Simon Property Group, two sources close to the situation said. 

A brief phone call between McCartney’s friend — a retired magician who performed on television and at Radio City Music Hall before hanging up his magic wand in 1978 — and the owners has already taken place, one source said.

It’s unclear why McCartney got involved, but he appears to have acted as an intermediary on behalf of his friend. He’s known Becker for decades and knows Salter casually, according to sources.

Salter declined to comment for this story. 

The top job at the ailing retailer became vacant on Dec. 31, when the new owners ousted CEO Jill Soltau, who’d been at the helm since 2018.

It wouldn’t be the first time Becker’s name has come up to lead the Plano, Texas-based retailer, which filed for bankruptcy in May. When JCPenney was searching for a new CEO after firing Ron Johnson in 2013, Becker was one of several people who were potential fits, according to a Huffington Post article at the time.

The veteran retailer, who has been an adviser to Kohl’s, Wet Seal, Tommy Hilfiger and others, was in the running to head up Trump Taj Mahal in 2014, as The Post reported, when he was in talks with Carl Icahn — who was an investor in the Atlantic City casino.

“If Carl and I come to terms, I can turn this around in a relatively quick fashion,” Becker told The Post at the time from his home in Miami Beach, Fla.

During his career, Becker has at times been a hired gun, a turnaround expert who comes in to help a struggling retailer and leaves after a more permanent CEO is hired.

It’s not clear how Becker and McCartney know each other, but they have been friends for decades, according to sources. Neither immediately returned calls for comment. 

Becker, 65, is an entertainer in his own right and the author of books on magic and was sued by David Copperfield in 1994 for allegedly revealing Copperfield’s illusion secrets in “All the Secrets of Magic Revealed.”

As for his chances of leading JCPenney, one source close to the retailer said the owners are not even close to making a hiring decision.

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