Apple retail chief Ron Johnson takes his empire-building genius to J.C. Penney

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Apple retail chief Ron Johnson takes his empire-building genius to J.C. Penney
Ron Johnson
You may not know the name Ron Johnson, but you're definitely familiar with his work -- this is the man who built Apple's retail empire. Eleven years ago Jobs brought Johnson on to create the first Apple store, stealing him away from his position at Target. Now the man who brought you the Genius Bar and roaming, iPhone-wielding sales reps is moving on, and taking his expertise to the department store stalwart J.C. Penney. A spokesperson for the Cupertino crew told All Things D that the company was already searching for his replacement, but we're more interested in what Johnson will be doing with the shopping mall staple when he takes over as CEO on November 1st. We can only imagine that iPad-based virtual fitting rooms and desks of Jean-iuses will be helping you pick out your next pair of Levis. PR after the break.
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J. C. Penney Company Names Ron Johnson as Its Next Chief Executive Officer, Effective November 1

Johnson Has Led Apple Inc.'s Retail Since Its Inception
Will Join J. C. Penney's Board of Directors on August 1

PLANO, Texas, June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer of J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP), today announced that Ron Johnson, an innovative and highly regarded retail executive, has been named the Company's next chief executive officer, succeeding Mr. Ullman in that role. Mr. Johnson will assume the CEO position on Nov. 1, 2011, and report to Mr. Ullman, who will become executive chairman. Mr. Johnson will also join the Company's Board of Directors, effective Aug. 1, 2011.

Mr. Johnson, 52, has served for the past 11 years as senior vice president of retail at Apple Inc., where he led its retail strategy, which from its start in 2001 now numbers over 300 stores in the U.S. and abroad. He joined Apple after 15 years at Target Corporation, where he was a key merchandising executive.

Mr. Ullman said, "I am delighted that Ron is joining our Board and the Company, and look forward to working with him as we continue to transform the jcpenney brand. He is widely recognized and highly regarded in the retail industry for his creativity and innovation, his commitment to empowering employees to deliver an unparalleled customer experience, and to making stores exciting places where people love to shop. His tremendous accomplishments at Apple and Target speak to his great consumer merchandising, marketing and operational talent."

Thomas J. Engibous, lead director of J. C. Penney Company's Board, said, "The Company has made outstanding strides under Mike Ullman's leadership and it has great potential ahead thanks to the Long Range Plan for growth he and the management team developed and are executing, which includes top management succession planning. The progress made under Mike's leadership is reflected in the Company's ability to attract an executive of Ron Johnson's talent and track record as it continues to focus on achieving its objective of becoming America's most exciting place to shop. We look forward to Ron joining our Board and then to his assuming the chief executive role as he, Mike and their team work towards achieving the Company's goals."

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."

As a demonstration of his confidence in J. C. Penney's long-term potential, Mr. Johnson requested and has committed to make a personal investment of $50 million in the Company through the purchase, at fair market value, of 7 1/2-year warrants on 7.257 million shares ofJ. C. Penney Company stock. The warrants cannot be sold or hedged for the first six years of their term and have a strike price of $29.92, the closing price of the stock on the business day prior to Mr. Johnson's commitment to purchase the warrants.

About Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson brings to J. C. Penney Company over 25 years of retail experience and a long and successful track record of delivering year-over-year growth for multi-billion dollar companies.

Before joining Apple, Mr. Johnson held a variety of positions with Target Corporation, serving in his last role there as vice president of merchandising. In his 15-year merchandising career with Target he had responsibility for such categories as Men's Apparel, Women's Apparel and Accessories, Children's and Home. He is most noted for launching and leading the Design Initiative at Target, which began with the Michael Graves collection for home and included several other key brands such as Calphalon, Carr, Bodum and more.

Mr. Johnson received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his Bachelor of Arts at Stanford in Economics.

About Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III

Mr. Ullman joined J. C. Penney as Chairman and CEO in late 2004. Over the next several months, he and the Company's Executive Board designed a Long Range Plan for the growth of J. C. Penney to position it for leadership in the retail sector, and they have made great progress in delivering on its goals. This has included enabling the Company to navigate through the challenging economic environment of the past several years and to emerge with an enhanced reputation for style at compelling prices, industry-leading customer service, innovation in the digital experience, leading-edge technology across the organization, significant financial strength and a commitment to operational effectiveness.

Importantly, under Mr. Ullman the Company has put in place a succession planning process for senior management, including for the CEO position. The appointment of Mr. Johnson is a key step in that process.

Even prior to joining J. C. Penney Company, Inc., Mr. Ullman had a distinguished track record in the retail business, both domestically and internationally. His leadership experience included serving as group managing director of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury goods manufacturer (from 1999-2002); chairman and chief executive officer of DFS Group Limited, the travel retailer (1995-1999); chairman and chief executive officer of R. H. Macy & Co., Inc. (1992-1995); and group managing director of Wharf Holdings, Ltd. in Hong Kong (1986-1989). Among his other roles, he was appointed a White House Fellow by President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Ullman currently serves as deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; presiding independent director of Starbucks Corporation; Board member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association; and chairman of the board of Mercy Ships International.
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