Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, Ron Johnson, is leaving to become President and eventually CEO of J.C. Penney. Johnson will assume this role November 1, 2011 and will join J.C. Penney's board of directors on August 1.
Johnson joined Apple in 2000 from Target where he worked as the VP of merchandising. Johnson guided Apple's retail division from its inception to its current standing as one of tech's most successful brick-and-mortar stores. He was responsible for the performance of over 300 Apple stores worldwide.
His departure is not a reflection of bad times at Apple. According to J.C. Penney's press release, Johnson has always dreamed of being the CEO of a major retail company. In this role, he hopes to turn around the struggling retail giant and "transform the way America shops." It's a tall order, but if he is as successful with J.C. Penney as he was with Apple, he may able to achieve the comeback of the decade.
MYRON E. (MIKE) ULLMAN, III TO BECOME EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
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.