• Apple Loses Top Retail Chief to JC Penny

    Although executives aren't exactly dropping like flies at Apple, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant has lost no shortage of top-shelf leaders in the last six months, the latest of which is Apple's chief of retail operations, Ron Johnson. It was announced Tuesday that Johnson will be leaving Apple to become the new CEO of JC Penny.

    The loss for Apple, however, is profound, given that Johnson has served for the past 11 years as senior vice president of retail at Apple. In fact, Johnson was pivotal in helping Apple launch its retail platform. He was the architect of Apple's retail strategy - a strategy that has resulted in some 300 thriving Apple stores around the world. Prior to working at Apple, Johnson cut his retail teeth at Target, where he spent 15 years.

    Apple hasn't yet commented on the loss, although JC Penny is already bragging about their major get - so much so that the company today issued a formal press release about Johnson's installment as CEO, effective Nov. 1 of this year.

    "I've always dreamed of leading a major retail company as CEO," Johnson said in the release, "and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help JC Penney re-imagine what I believe to be the single greatest opportunity in American retailing today, the Department Store. I have tremendous confidence in J. C. Penney's future and look forward to working with Mike Ullman, the Executive Board and the Company's 150,000 associates to transform the way America shops."

    Although Johnson was never widely believed to be a contender for CEO of Apple should Steve Jobs ultimately step down, sources say some within Apple are taking this departure very hard, as Johnson is not only a close friend to many in Cupertino, he's also thought to be a "critical member" of the top executive slate.

    Source: JC Penny
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