Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson Departing to Lead J.C. Penney [Updated]

ron johnsonThe Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson is leaving the company to take the position of president at department store chain J.C. Penney, a move that will put Johnson in position to become CEO at the company within the next few months.

J.C. Penney Co. is tapping Ron Johnson, head of Apple Inc.'s iconic retail stores, as its new president and eventual chief executive, people familiar with the situation said.

The company is expected to announce Mr. Johnson's appointment later today. Mr. Johnson will become CEO in the next few months, succeeding long-time leader Myron "Mike" Ullman.

Johnson, who came to Apple eleven years ago from Target, has been credited with being the driving force behind Apple's runaway success in its retail store initiative that has grown to include 325 stores worldwide. Johnson has also been a fixture at many of Apple's highest-profile retail store openings around the world.

Johnson's philosophy for Apple's retail stores has been to "create a place that people will love", focusing on the customer experience rather than simple square footage or sales metrics, although Apple's retail stores are of course performing extremely well by sales measures as well. During his tenure at Apple, he oversaw the entire retail store development process, from the original stores in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California to the iconic buildings now located in a number of cities around the world.

Update: J.C. Penney has officially announced that Johnson will assume the CEO position on November 1st and that Johnson will personally make a long-term $50 million investment in J.C. Penney as a sign of his confidence in the future of the company.

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."

Update 2: J.C. Penney's stock is up over 10% on news of Johnson's appointment. Apple's stock has been fluctuating a bit, but is only down slightly since the news broke.

Update 3: Apple has issued a statement to All Things Digital wishing Johnson well and noting that the company is "actively recruiting" for his replacement.

"Ron is excited about this opportunity and we hope it goes well for him," a spokesperson said. "We've got a great retail team in place and are actively recruiting for his replacement."

Top Rated Comments

jonnysods Avatar
144 months ago
JC Penny is going to rock in a couple of years. 3 shirts, 2 socks, bare walls.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ratzzo Avatar
144 months ago
Good for him. If I could be CEO of a very large company like J. C. Penney, I would take the offer without blinking.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
paulypants Avatar
144 months ago
Challenges

This guy obviously loves a challenge, having done all he can to get Apple Retail where it needed to be, it seems like the right time to move one. No bigger challenge than trying to resurrect such a stale brand as JC Penney...good luck Ron!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RafaelT Avatar
144 months ago
Sounds like a good move for him career wise.

I think by this point Apple has retail figured out well enough that they will be just fine without him. He did a really good job though.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
*LTD* Avatar
144 months ago
JC Penney will be cool again.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mattie Num Nums Avatar
144 months ago
I had the pleasure of working with Ron for many years. He was the real brains behind Apple Retail. Great guy.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpods pro 2 1

AirPods Pro 2 No Longer Expected to Feature Built-In Heart Rate or Body Temperature Sensor

Sunday July 3, 2022 8:07 pm PDT by
While past rumors have indicated the upcoming second-generation AirPods Pro will feature a built-in heart rate and body temperature sensor, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has cast doubt on those rumors turning out to be true, saying instead such a feature is unlikely to come anytime soon. "Over the past few months, there have been rumors about this year's model gaining the ability to determine a...
top stories 2jul2022

Top Stories: M2 MacBook Air Release Date, New HomePod Rumor, and More

Saturday July 2, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The M2 MacBook Pro has started making its way into customers' hands and we're learning more about how it performs in a variety of situations, but all eyes are really on the upcoming M2 MacBook Air which has seen a complete redesign and should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Other top stories this week included a host of product rumors including additional M2 and even M3 Macs, an updated...
Apple Watch 8 Unreleased Feature Thumb

Apple Watch Series 8 Model Rumored to Feature 5% Larger Display

Monday July 4, 2022 5:50 am PDT by
Apple is working on an Apple Watch Series 8 model with a larger display, according to DSCC's Ross Young and Haitong International Securities's Jeff Pu. In October last year, Young suggested that the Apple Watch Series 8 could come in three display sizes. Now, responding to a query about the rumor on Twitter, Young claims that the additional display size joining the Apple Watch lineup will be ...
intel go pc justin long

Windows Laptop Makers 'Worried' About New MacBook Air Impacting Sales

Tuesday July 5, 2022 6:57 am PDT by
The upcoming launch of Apple's redesigned MacBook Air with the M2 chip has some Windows laptop manufacturers "worried" that sales of Intel-based laptops will be negatively affected, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes. "A Wintel brand vendor pointed out that at a price point of US$1,000-$1,500, the MacBook Air will crowd out other high-end notebooks," the report claims, with...
Apple Watch Series 8 What We Know Feature

Apple Watch Series 8 Might Be Able to Tell If You Have a Fever

Sunday July 3, 2022 6:36 am PDT by
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 will be able to tell a wearer if it believes they have a fever due to a higher than normal body temperature thanks to a new built-in sensor, according to Bloomberg's reliable Mark Gurman. Writing in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman says that the Apple Watch Series 8 will feature a new body temperature sensor, given that the sensor passes ...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
European Commisssion

EU Approves Landmark Legislation to Regulate Apple and Other Big Tech Firms

Tuesday July 5, 2022 5:53 am PDT by
European Union lawmakers have approved landmark legislation to heavily regulate Apple, Google, Meta, and other big tech firms. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) were proposed by the European Commission in December 2020. Now, collected in a "Digital Services Package," the legislation has been formally adopted by the European Parliament and seeks to address...