Apple retail chief Ron Johnson takes his empire-building genius to J.C. Penney and this is the man who built Apple’s retail empire, 11 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, the company was already searching for his replacement……….
Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer of J. C. Penney Company Inc. 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 of J. 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.