J.C. Penney Names Apple VP New CEO
Ron Johnson, who oversaw Apple’s foray into standalone stores from its humble beginnings in 2001, will take over the top spot at J.C. Penney Nov. 1.
Johnson will replace Murray Ullman, who was hired in 2004 and helped raise sales at the department store chain in 2010 after several years of decline. Ullman will remain with the company as executive chairman.
Johnson was handpicked by Steve Jobs in 2000 to spearhead the launch of the Apple Stores, which started with two outposts the following year and has since expanded to over 300.
“While it’s very difficult to leave Apple, perhaps the greatest company in the world, I just wanted a chance to lead a company in an industry that’s kind of tied to my roots in retailing,” Johnson told Bloomberg.com.
J.C. Penney has struggled in the wake of the recession, and amid rising costs of cotton and other imports, according to Bloomberg. In 2010, after adding lines by the likes of Liz Claiborne and other recognizable brands, Penney’s saw a 1.2 percent increase in sales (the first increase in three years).
J.C. Penney’s stock and market value surged Tuesday following the announcement, though some market analysts have already declared the rise may be fleeting.
Johnson and Ullman will work closely together and will focus on “tech commerce” and rebuilding the J.C. Penney brand, Reuters reported.
Johnson’s base salary was reported at $1.5 million, but he stands to earn far more from bonuses and restricted stock.
Apple has not announced a successor, but said through a spokeswoman that the company is “actively recruiting.”