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Former Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson Fired as JC Penney CEO

Former Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson Fired as JC Penney CEO

Ron Johnson, Apple’s former SVP of retail, has left his position as CEO of JC Penney, CNBC reports. It follows turbulent months for the former Apple man, with his philosophy seemingly clashing with that of JC Penney.

His high tech and fixed price approach that he employed at Apple didn’t fare well at JC Penney, resulting in falling stock prices and low morale. He will be replaced by former CEO Mike Ullman.

Ron Johnson

Johnson is credited alongside Steve Jobs as the man behind the Apple Stores, however taking that philosophy to JC Penney has obviously not worked out too well.

I’ll try not to get excited, but the timing is extremely convenient for an Apple return. The Cupertino company is on the search for a head of retail after parting ways with John Browett (Johnson’s replacement), and the return of the Apple Store guru could be exactly what Apple needs.

At times, it seems like things are meant to be. This could be one of those times.

Here’s the official statement:

The Board of Directors of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. [NYSE: JCP], today announced that Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III has rejoined the Company as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. He has also been elected to the Board of Directors. Mr. Ullman is a highly accomplished retail industry executive, who served as CEO of jcpenney until late 2011. He succeeds Ron Johnson, who is stepping down and leaving the Company.

Thomas Engibous, Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors, said, “We are fortunate to have someone with Mike’s proven experience and leadership abilities to take the reins at the Company at this important time. He is well-positioned to quickly analyze the situation jcpenney faces and take steps to improve the Company’s performance.”

Mr. Ullman added, “While jcpenney has faced a difficult period, its legacy as a leader in American retailing is an asset that can be built upon and leveraged. To that end, my plan is to immediately engage with the Company’s customers, team members, vendors and shareholders, to understand their needs, views and insights. With that knowledge, I will work with the leadership team and the Board to develop and clearly articulate a game plan to establish a foundation for future success.”

Mr. Engibous added, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank Ron Johnson for his contributions while at jcpenney and wish him the best in his future endeavors.

It will be interesting to see what happens – and how (or even if) Apple responds to their legendary retail guru’s new availability on the job market.