Under new leadership, J.C. Penney heads back to the drawing board
By Jay Keller
The ambitious overhaul of J.C. Penney set in motion by CEO Ron Johnson 17 months ago stalled this week after the company announced that Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III would be replacing the former Target and Apple executive.
J.C. Penney said in a statement that Ullman, who served as J.C. Penney’s CEO until late 2011, would succeed Johnson, who resigned on Monday.
The ouster of Johnson in favor of Ullman suggests that J.C. Penney will be heading back to the drawing board to in an effort to revise the company’s overall strategy.
“He [Ullman] is well-positioned to quickly analyze the situation jcpenney faces and take steps to improve the Company’s performance,” Thomas Engibous, chairman of J.C. Penney’s Board of Directors, said in a statement.
Ullman plans to collect feedback immediately from customers, team members and vendors and use that knowledge to build a road map.
“While J.C. Penney has faced a difficult period, its legacy as a leader in American retailing is an asset that can be built upon and leveraged,” Ullman said.
Ullman added that customer and team input is critical to developing and articulating “a game plan to establish a foundation for future success.”
Johnson arrival spurred much excitement at J.C. Penny with many in the retail industry remaining confident that the executive who made Apple stores “cool” and Target “cheap chic” famous would do the same.
Analysts and insiders thought the board would give Johnson more time to reverse the slumping sales and in-store visits, according to the Associated Press, especially since newly-opened micro-shops featuring popular brands were starting to move the needle in the right direction.
Regardless, J. C. Penney finds itself in a position where the company needs to fix itself again and climb out of another hole.
J.C. Penney lost nearly $1 billion last year under Johnson’s leadership and many in the retail industry question whether or not the company can come back.
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