Ron Johnson


'Ron Johnson' Articles

Steve Jobs Thought Genius Bar Was 'Idiotic' Idea at First, Said 'It'll Never Work'

While the Genius Bar is the focal point of the Apple Store, it turns out the idea was initially panned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. On the Recode Decode podcast, Apple's former retail chief Ron Johnson recalled the day he told Jobs about the Genius Bar. Steve's initial reaction to the idea: "That's so idiotic! It'll never work!" Jobs went on to tell Johnson that the Genius Bar may in fact be the "right idea," but he was not convinced at the time that people who knew technology would be able to communicate effectively with customers.“I remember the day I came in and told Steve about the Genius Bar idea and he says, ‘That’s so idiotic! It’ll never work!’” Johnson said. “He said, ‘Ron, you might have the right idea, but here’s the big gap: I’ve never met someone who knows technology who knows how to connect with people. They’re all geeks! You can call it the Geek Bar.’” “And I said, ‘Steve, kids who are in their 20s today grew up in a very different world. They all know technology, and that’s who’s going to work in the store.’”The following day, Johnson said Jobs instructed Apple's top lawyer to file a trademark for "Genius Bar." In an earlier interview, Johnson said it took some time before the Genius Bar gained traction, but within three years Apple was forced to create a reservation system due to its popularity. Nearly sixteen years later, the Genius Bar and the newer, more open concept Genius Grove remain a mainstay at most Apple

Former Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson Discusses 'Enjoy' Launch, Apple, Angela Ahrendts and More

Ron Johnson, who served as Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at Apple between 2000 and 2011, today unveiled his new online retail startup called Enjoy Technology that will begin selling high-end consumer electronics, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, speakers and drones. The Menlo Park, California company will sell about 60 products starting today. Enjoy aims to differentiate itself from Amazon and other competitors by providing free personal in-home setup service for products, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. When you purchase a product, Enjoy will send a representative to your home to help set it up, with visits lasting approximately one hour. AT&T, GoPro, Microsoft, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard are among the early partners with the service. Johnson was interviewed by CNBC today to discuss the Enjoy launch and a handful of other topics, including Apple and the company's current retail chief Angela Ahrendts, the future of physical retail and more. In particular, he offered praise for Ahrendts, who has led Apple's retail operations since May 2014, and noted that he owns an Apple Watch and thinks it's an "incredible product." He also said to "stay tuned" about the availability of Apple products through Enjoy in the future. Kayla Tausche: It was bizarre to think about an Apple product launch without those lines around the corner. Stretching for miles and miles. I'm just wondering if you look at this new era for Apple products and Apple retail, and you think that there is a lot of change and that it's sort of doing away with the way you used to do

Ron Johnson Launching Gadget Delivery Service, Poaching Apple Employees

Apple's former retail chief Ron Johnson is planning to launch a "high-end, on-demand delivery service for gadgets, reports The Information's Jessica Lessin. The startup has reportedly been described as "Best Buy's Geek Squad meets Apple's Genius Bar." MacRumors has heard similar rumors about Johnson's startup plans, with a source suggesting he's been attempting to recruit former and current Apple employees, including Jerry McDougal, who once served as Apple's vice president of retail under Johnson. Before leaving Apple, Johnson worked at the company for more than 10 years. He's largely credited with transforming the Apple retail experience and setting the company on a path towards rapid retail growth. In 2011, Johnson left the company to take over as CEO of J.C. Penney, a position that he held for just two years. Following Johnson's departure, Apple's retail division was left in flux, with no successor named. John Browett, formerly CEO of Dixons Retail, took over as head of retail at Apple in 2012, but he was ousted later that same year. Apple remained without a retail chief until the hiring of Angela Ahrendts, former Burberry CEO, who officially joined the company in May

Former Apple SVP Ron Johnson Recounts Early Days of Apple Retail Stores

Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson spoke earlier this year at his alma mater Stanford University and talked about the early years of Apple retail stores (via ifoAppleStore). Johnson oversaw the development of the Apple Store and is credited with creating the company's distinctive retail experience. After joining Apple in 2000, Johnson was given complete control over the company's retail project by then-CEO Steve Jobs. The first Apple Stores featured high-speed Internet connections to attract new customers and were originally designed to create a sense of community among Apple users, not necessarily sell products. “It was a pure play,” Johnson said of the store design. “There was really no compromise on any of the intuition. And I think that’s how the Apple stores connected (with visitors).” Even today, he said, people go to the stores, “just to go. They don’t go to buy. There are so many reasons to come.” Johnson joined Apple as Senior Vice President of Retail Operations in January 2000 and remained in that role until 2011, when he departed for a CEO position at J.C. Penney. Under his leadership, Apple's retail operations exploded, generating over a $1 billion in annual sales within two years and eventually leading all U.S. retailers in terms of monetary sales per square foot. Johnson was succeeded by Dixons' John Browett, who served as Apple's retail chief for a short seven months. Apple's retail operations, which now include 425 retail stores in 16 countries worldwide, are now under the leadership of former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who joined Apple

Former Apple Retail Head Ron Johnson Fired as CEO of JC Penney

CNBC is reporting that former Apple Retail head Ron Johnson is out as CEO of JC Penney, the job he took after resigning from Apple. @CNBC: BREAKING: Ron Johnson out as J.C. Penney CEO - sourceJohnson departed Apple in late 2011 and was replaced by John Browett, the CEO of British computing retailer Dixons. Browett's tenure was a bumpy one and he was fired after less than a year on the job.Nearly six months after Browett left Apple, the position remains open, leading many to speculate that Johnson would be a natural fit to move back into the position he occupied for more than ten

Ron Johnson Says People Come to Apple For The Experience

Ron Johnson, the architect behind the Apple Retail Stores, has moved on to be CEO of JC Penney. But, he still remembers the lessons he learned while at Apple. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Johnson reflects on what makes the Apple Store unique: People come to the Apple Store for the experience — and they're willing to pay a premium for that. There are lots of components to that experience, but maybe the most important — and this is something that can translate to any retailer — is that the staff isn't focused on selling stuff, it's focused on building relationships and trying to make people's lives better. That may sound hokey, but it's true. The staff is exceptionally well trained, and they're not on commission, so it makes no difference to them if they sell you an expensive new computer or help you make your old one run better so you're happy with it. Their job is to figure out what you need and help you get it, even if it's a product Apple doesn't carry. Compare that with other retailers where the emphasis is on cross-selling and upselling and, basically, encouraging customers to buy more, even if they don't want or need it. That doesn't enrich their lives, and it doesn't deepen the retailer's relationship with them. It just makes their wallets lighter.Perhaps as a hint toward the direction he intends to take JC Penney, Johnson ends by noting that "the retailers that win the future are the ones that start from scratch and figure out how to create fundamentally new types of value for

Former Retail Store Manager Steve Cano to Succeed Ron Johnson as Apple Retail Chief? [Updated]

Yesterday, we noted that Apple senior vice president for retail Ron Johnson had been removed from Apple's list of senior executives, in line with his previously-announced departure to become CEO of department store chain J.C. Penney. The transition occurred with no announcement from Apple regarding Johnson's successor. Steve Cano (left) and Ron Johnson (right) at 2004 grand opening of Shinsaibashi store in Osaka, Japan (Source: ifoAppleStore) Cult of Mac now reports that Steve Cano has been elevated to the position of senior vice president for retail, heading up the successful division as part of the executive leadership team.Apple’s new retail boss boss isn’t just some suit, though. He’s one of the first retail employees Apple ever hired, a California surfer dude who has climbed from the sales floor to the very top rung of Apple management. It’s a real rags-to-riches story that should be inspiration to every stressed out Apple Store sales associate or overworked Genius: your work can be noticed, and you too can go to the very top. According to our source, Apple is replacing Johnson with his long-time lieutenant, Steve Cano.According to the report, Cano began his career at Apple ten years ago as manager of the Palo Alto retail store, later moving to open the SoHo store in New York City. Consistent with previous reports of Apple looking for a candidate with international retail experience, Cano has spent the last seven years working on Apple's international retail efforts, first in Japan as manager of the Ginza store in Tokyo and then as regional director

Retail Chief Ron Johnson Departs Apple for J.C. Penney, No Successor Named

In line with his previously-announced transition, Ron Johnson has left his position as senior vice president of retail at Apple to take over as CEO of department store chain J.C. Penney. As noticed by 9to5Mac, Johnson has been removed from Apple's list of senior executives. Johnson came to Apple from Target eleven years ago, overseeing the launch and strong growth of Apple's retail store segment. With other computer companies such as Gateway struggling with their own retail efforts at the time, Apple faced a significant amount of skepticism about whether it could make a viable stand in direct-sales retail.Problem is, the numbers don't add up. Given the decision to set up shop in high-rent districts in Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, and Jobs's hometown of Palo Alto, Calif., the leases for Apple's stores could cost $1.2 million a year each, says David A. Goldstein, president of researcher Channel Marketing Corp. Since PC retailing gross margins are normally 10% or less, Apple would have to sell $12 million a year per store to pay for the space. Gateway does about $8 million annually at each of its Country Stores. Then there's the cost of construction, hiring experienced staff. "I give them two years before they're turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake," says Goldstein.Apple has of course seen a tremendous amount of success in retail, leading all U.S. retail chains in sales per square foot while also serving to enhance brand awareness and offer direct support services to customers. Apple has yet to announce Johnson's successor, with the company

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

The 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

Apple's Ron Johnson on the Retail Store Experience

Mac displays at Apple's Covent Garden retail store in London RetailWeek reports (subscription required, via 9 to 5 Mac) on Apple's retail store experience in the wake of the opening of its massive Covent Garden store in London. The report covers a number of details about Apple's retail store history and the Covent Garden store specifically, but also offers some interesting quotes from Apple's Senior Vice President for Retail Ron Johnson about the company's philosophy. Johnson claims that the company embraced the retail store initiative as an opportunity to show off the company's sleek product designs and innovative technology. But even with the company now operating 300 retail stores, Johnson notes that most people still have never touched an iPad. Explaining the stores' appeal he says: "10 years ago, we decided that, as a company that wanted to win in innovation, we wanted customers to experience the product at first hand."That focus led Apple to its retail store concept, where stores function less like traditional shops and more like showrooms where people can play with Apple products as a destination in its own right, with sales taking something of a back seat in the store experience. That meant the creation of a "gold standard" for Apple stores. While many retailers view stores by measures such as square footage and sales, Apple takes a different approach. "Our primary objective is to create a place that people will love," says Johnson. Covent Garden is the most significant iteration yet of that attitude. "We've not only created a store, we've created a place for