J.C. Penney Hires Key Apple Executive from Retail Store Design Team

Since taking the helm of department store chain J.C. Penney last November, former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson has rebuilt much of his new company's executive team, in many cases bringing in associates he had worked with at Apple or in his earlier stint at Target. Until now, Johnson appears to have avoided tapping Apple's staff directly, bringing in Apple veterans who had already left the company for other jobs.

But as announced in a J.C. Penney press release today, Johnson has expanded his executive team again, this time hiring Ben Fay, a key member of Apple's retail store design team to help lead the next-generation of department store designs.

"Ben is an incredibly creative professional with extraordinary leadership skills. Having worked with him over the last 12 years, I am delighted to see Ben step into this new role at jcp," said Johnson. "His design influence has made the Apple stores highly regarded retail destinations around the world, and I am excited to have Ben place his own mark on jcp as we re-imagine the jcpenney store of the future."

According to his LinkedIn profile, Fay spent eight years as a senior director at Apple, overseeing retail store and corporate office design. Prior to arriving at Apple itself, he spent four years at architecture firm Gensler, where he focused on Apple's retail projects. With that résumé, Fay clearly played a key role in the development of the Apple retail store concept alongside Johnson and other members of the team.

apple store amsterdam staircase
Interior of Apple's Amsterdam retail store

Fay's move to J.C. Penney comes just as former Dixons Retail CEO John Browett begins work at Apple as Johnson's replacement. Browett was named Apple's senior vice president of retail in January, but did not officially start with the company until last week.

Browett brings an international flavor to Apple's retail effort, with international stores having been an increasing focus for Apple in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue as Apple works to expand its global reach. The company has also been placing emphasis on larger, iconic stores to help promote the company's brand while providing more space to serve the growing number of Apple customers.

Top Rated Comments

Dr McKay Avatar
127 months ago
I really don't like that store look, it's too bright, white everywhere. It's just so.....bland.

I really like the Apple Stores where they have a Brick Wall, Wooden floors, at least some colour differentiation. Those types of stores have character.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GSPice Avatar
127 months ago
be prepared from beauty to the beast, browlett DIXONS STYLE, their stores were shocking, i dont hold much hope for him, but know that apple is bigger than one browlett!!!

blow45, he looks like a bag of shi@@

Didn't know they had open-air urinals at Dixons
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blow45 Avatar
127 months ago
I wonder how they keep that much glass clean. Maybe it's part of someone's job description to clean it after the store closes every day? To reach the upper parts on the outside, you'd have to use a cleaner on a pole and it can't be a straight one like they use for cleaning windows; it would have to be curved. I'd just like to see an article about how they keep it clean.

In the same way we keep every glass clean, and someone works his ass off, no big mystery really...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SteveJobsUK Avatar
127 months ago
I wonder how they keep that much glass clean. Maybe it's part of someone's job description to clean it after the store closes every day? To reach the upper parts on the outside, you'd have to use a cleaner on a pole and it can't be a straight one like they use for cleaning windows; it would have to be curved. I'd just like to see an article about how they keep it clean.

You know what, it'd be a great idea to have someone who's paid just to clean. What a revolutionary idea.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LaWally Avatar
127 months ago
Apple Stores are continuously successful because they're not stores. They're experiences. Where you then just happen to be able to buy stuff.
But how many stores are like the one shown? There are three Apple Stores in Orlando and they are all just another store in a mall. Sure they have a distinctive glass front which differentiates them from other retailers, but otherwise there is nothing of an "experience".

As for me, when I go to an Apple store I am looking to get in, get what I need, and get out. An "experience", no thanks.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ca$hflow Avatar
127 months ago
How would you like to be the cleaning lady in that store. :eek:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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