Former Apple retail guru Ron Johnson reportedly out at J.C. Penney

You gotta figure that getting canned as CEO is bad enough, but consider former Apple store guru Ron Johnson. Just the rumor that J.C. Penney had cut him loose as CEO caused the retailer’s stock to shoot up nearly 11 percent.

Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down, or reportedly down. Here’s an update from the Wall Street Journal. Here’s an early CNBC report that says former Penney guy Mike Ullman will replace Johnson.

It’s a sad day when a company’s successful turn-around plan turns out to be getting rid of the guy with the turn-around plan. But a stock boost is a stock boost.

We’ve been waiting weeks for word that Johnson was out. He started at the company in 2011. That the end was near was widely reported. Johnson came in as Penney’s savior, hot off the world-beating success of Apple’s retail stores. You know, the places where you can barely move a muscle because of the huge crowds and where those crowds pay top dollar for Apple products because, well, they’re Apple products.

Somehow success at selling gleaming high-tech gadgets just didn’t translate to selling button up sweaters and sweat socks.

Johnson came to Penney with a lot of fresh ideas for the thread-bare retailer. Big sales and coupons were out. In were everyday low prices, which when they’re the prices every day begin to look like regular, old prices.

As the Daily Finance piece pointed out, Johnson didn’t test market his ideas, instead issuing the refrain, “We didn’t test at Apple.”

Maybe further proof — and painful proof for Johnson — that Apple is just a different kind of company.

Photo: New York Times


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