Ron Johnson Bringing Apple Revival Experience to J.C. Penney
Apple retail executive Ron Johnson helped launch Apple's retail stores and establish their successful brand. Can he do the same for J.C. Penney?Apple's senior vice president of retail, Ron Johnson, is stepping down to take the CEO reins at J.C. Penney. Johnson is widely credited with helping Apple develop a formidable retail presence. Over the course of the past decade, the company has expanded from its initial two stores (in Tyson's Corner, Va., and Glendale, Calif.) to more than 300 locations worldwide.
From the very beginning, the Apple stores served a vital role as ambassadors of the brand. "We're here to expand Apple market share," Johnson noted in October 2001, as the company opened its ninth location in Palo Alto, Calif. "If we do great stores in the right places where people gather ... if we have phenomenally well-trained people, we think our market share will grow dramatically."
J.C. Penney will present an altogether different challenge for Johnson. According to Bloomberg, the department-store chain is currently focused on lowering its overall expenses in order to compensate for a rising cost in materials. J.C. Penney has also closed some of its stores. In many ways, becoming CEO would represent something of a return for Johnson, who spent years working as an executive for Target before joining Apple. Meanwhile, Apple is seeking to fill his role. "We've got a great retail team in place and are actively recruiting for his replacement," Amy Bessette, a spokesperson for Apple, told Bloomberg June 14.