Apple Retail VP Ron Johnson Leaving for J.C. Penney

Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, will be leaving the company to take over as CEO of J.C. Penney. Mr. Johnson was instrumental in making Apple’s own retail venture a success.

“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,” Mr. Johnson said.

Ron JohnsonApple’s Ron Johnson is heading to J.C. Penny

Mr. Johnson will take the helm from Mike Ullman, J.C. Penney’s current chairman and CEO on November 1, 2011. He will also join the company’s Board of Directors on August 1.

“I am delighted that Ron is joining our Board and the Company, and look forward to working with him as we continue to transform the jcpenney brand,” Mr. Ullman said. “His tremendous accomplishments at Apple and Target speak to his great consumer merchandising, marketing and operational talent.”

Mr. Johnson is purchasing US$50 million in J.C. Penney stock as a gesture to show his faith in the company’s long-term performance. He is purchasing the stock with 7.5-year warrants — the stock can’t be sold or hedged for six years.

Prior to his 11 year tenure at Apple, Mr. Johnson worked for Target where he served as vice president of merchandising and was instrumental in bring several key brands to the retailer’s shelves. At Apple, he helped the company design and launch over 320 stores around the world.