Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson Departing to Lead J.C. Penney [Updated]

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Apr 12, 2001
7,152
8,336
0
19
www.macrumors.com



The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson is leaving the company to take the position of president at department store chain J.C. Penney, a move that will put Johnson in position to become CEO at the company within the next few months.
J.C. Penney Co. is tapping Ron Johnson, head of Apple Inc.'s iconic retail stores, as its new president and eventual chief executive, people familiar with the situation said.

The company is expected to announce Mr. Johnson's appointment later today. Mr. Johnson will become CEO in the next few months, succeeding long-time leader Myron "Mike" Ullman.
Johnson, who came to Apple eleven years ago from Target, has been credited with being the driving force behind Apple's runaway success in its retail store initiative that has grown to include 325 stores worldwide. Johnson has also been a fixture at many of Apple's highest-profile retail store openings around the world.

Johnson's philosophy for Apple's retail stores has been to "create a place that people will love", focusing on the customer experience rather than simple square footage or sales metrics, although Apple's retail stores are of course performing extremely well by sales measures as well. During his tenure at Apple, he oversaw the entire retail store development process, from the original stores in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California to the iconic buildings now located in a number of cities around the world.

Update: J.C. Penney has officially announced that Johnson will assume the CEO position on November 1st and that Johnson will personally make a long-term $50 million investment in J.C. Penney as a sign of his confidence in the future of the company.
Mr. Johnson said, "I've always dreamed of leading a major retail company as CEO, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help J. C. Penney re-imagine what I believe to be the single greatest opportunity in American retailing today, the Department Store. I have tremendous confidence in J. C. Penney's future and look forward to working with Mike Ullman, the Executive Board and the Company's 150,000 associates to transform the way America shops."
Update 2: J.C. Penney's stock is up over 10% on news of Johnson's appointment. Apple's stock has been fluctuating a bit, but is only down slightly since the news broke.

Update 3: Apple has issued a statement to All Things Digital wishing Johnson well and noting that the company is "actively recruiting" for his replacement.
"Ron is excited about this opportunity and we hope it goes well for him," a spokesperson said. "We've got a great retail team in place and are actively recruiting for his replacement."
Article Link: Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson Departing to Lead J.C. Penney [Updated]
 

ratzzo

macrumors 6502a
Apr 20, 2011
826
35
0
Madrid
Good for him. If I could be CEO of a very large company like J. C. Penney, I would take the offer without blinking.
 

RafaelT

macrumors 65816
Jun 9, 2010
1,161
0
0
Lakeland, FL
Sounds like a good move for him career wise.

I think by this point Apple has retail figured out well enough that they will be just fine without him. He did a really good job though.
 

paulypants

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2003
519
0
0
Buffalo, NY
Challenges

This guy obviously loves a challenge, having done all he can to get Apple Retail where it needed to be, it seems like the right time to move one. No bigger challenge than trying to resurrect such a stale brand as JC Penney...good luck Ron!
 

ghostlyorb

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2010
920
0
0
Virginia, USA
Apple will miss him, I'm sure. But at least he can make a difference somewhere else.. and hopefully help another business from going under (I doubt they will anyway.. J.C. Penny is usually packed..)
 

Will do good

macrumors 6502a
Mar 24, 2010
609
272
0
Earth
Good luck

The reasons Apple retail was successful is their quality products and their profit margin, which allow Apple to be customer friendly and focused.

JC is a much bigger challenge.
 

HelveticaNeue

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2010
634
36
0
"Do you want to sell t-shirts for the rest of your life, or do you want to stick with me and change the world?"

Seriously, I think this could be a great move for him. He's done amazing work with Apple and this opportunity allows him to essentially start from scratch and allows him to advance up the chain a bit higher.
 
Last edited:

seamuskrat

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2003
884
1
0
New Jersey USA
www.cnidaria.info
Succession Planning

I would hope a firm like Apple that relies so heavily on individual talent would have succession planning in place. It will be a loss. Some one equally talented in a slightly different way will be selected and add their unique twists to the experience. Hopefully they have as much success.

That said, while being a CEO is a nice job change, going from a retail Guru at Apple to JC Peney, CEO or not may be a let dow.

As a PhD canidate in Organizational behavior I would love to see how Apple's senior staff interacts and gets along. Maybe this guy wanted to move on to be closer to familt, the pay, etc. Or perhaps he didn't like the dynamic. So many possibilities.

I can only hope JC penney gets better. They are not so hot by me.
 

acslater017

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2006
710
98
0
San Francisco Bay Area
This guy obviously loves a challenge, having done all he can to get Apple Retail where it needed to be, it seems like the right time to move one. No bigger challenge than trying to resurrect such a stale brand as JC Penney...good luck Ron!
Yea, at first I was like, "REALLY?! Swapping Apple for J.C. Penny?!"

But then, I guess he has really gotten Apple's retail off the ground and he's proven himself to be really successful. The Apple Store is obviously beyond its infancy now and can be handed over to someone else...That, and they offered him to be the President :p Good for him
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,644
121
0
The reasons Apple retail was successful is their quality products and their profit margin, which allow Apple to be customer friendly and focused.

JC is a much bigger challenge.

not much different than the standard luxury store model i see

open stores in "high end" areas

have samples of the product

leave a lot of room for people to move around. the trend is that the price of the product is inversely proportional to the amount of space between products

hire halfway decent help

upsell high margin extras

package your products with little wasted space. the boxes on some PC's make them so bulky and increases shipping cost

liberal return policy
 

ganja

macrumors newbie
Jun 14, 2011
1
0
0
wow, big move. i worked with ron back in 2002-2003 when the stores were just starting to fly off the grounds.

he is a great guy, extremely nice with a warm and friendly heart, best of luck to him.
 

drober30

macrumors 6502a
Jul 5, 2007
785
60
0
This guy obviously loves a challenge, having done all he can to get Apple Retail where it needed to be, it seems like the right time to move one. No bigger challenge than trying to resurrect such a stale brand as JC Penney...good luck Ron!
Agreed!
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,408
0
I'm sure they have tasked him with making JC Penny hip. Old line department stores have an old customer base. If anyone os up to the task, he is.
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,286
14
0
Good luck Ron. Wow, J.C. Penney? That's quite a challenge.

I would hope a firm like Apple that relies so heavily on individual talent would have succession planning in place.
So you think the most successful tech company in the world has no clue when it comes to its executive staff? Surely it must be Steve Jobs that's running every single part of the billion dollar business? :rolleyes:
 

NinjaHERO

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2008
893
1,018
0
U S of A
Can't blame the guy. He gets to become top dog. It will be interesting to see how much better he can make JC Penny's. I didn't even realize that company was still around.