Ron Johnson’s work in building and expanding Apple’s retail offerings into a global force has been described by some as “iconic.” Apparently, JC Penney feels the same way.
The department store chain has tabbed Johnson to be its new CEO, effective November 1. Johnson will take the reigns from current Penney’s CEO Myron Ullman, who now becomes executive chairman. Johnson will also join the retailer’s board of directors starting August 1.
“Ron 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,” Ullman says. “His tremendous accomplishments at Apple and Target speak to his great consumer merchandising, marketing and operational talent.”
The 52 year-old Johnson has spent the past 11 years as senior vice president of retail for Apple, during which he oversaw the opening of 300-plus Apple stores and led the company’s overall retail strategy. To say his tenure at the company was marked by Apple’s emergence as a retail powerhouse would be a gross understatement.
Prior to Apple, Johnson spent 15 years at Target, where he was a merchandising executive in charge of several different product categories, including men’s and women’s apparel, children’s items and home goods.
Johnson himself seems excited about the move.
“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,” he said. “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.”
J.C. Penney also announced that Johnson will invest $50 million into the company as part of the move, purchasing warrants for more than 7 million shares of Penney stock.
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