1. Akshay Masand's Avatar

    The former Apple executive Ron Johnson, who previously helped cultivate the highly successful Apple Store retail initiative, appears to be leading a $16 million investment round for online retailer, Nasty Gal, making his return to the fashion industry. Along with his role in funding, Johnson will be joining the Los Angeles-based retailerís board of directors as the company builds out a fledgling brick-and-mortar presence. As of right now, Nasty Gal operates a single store on Melrose Ave. but future plans indicate the build out of a second location with the potential help of Johnson.

    It seems that Nasty Gal seems to have another tie to Apple as well as the fonder Sophia Amoruso told the publication she was introduced to Johnson more than one year ago by James Higa of Index Ventures, an existing investor that also contributed to the latest funding round. Higa was previously at Apple Japan as director of product marketing from 1984 to 1985 then he moved on to NeXT in 1989 before leaving the company for RealNetworks in 1996. He returned to Apple in 2001 to work directly under late Apple cofounder, Steve Jobs, as a senior office director until 2012. According to his LinkedIn profile, he described his last position at Apple as ďSpecial Ops for Steve.Ē

    Johnson reportedly discussed Nasty Galís progress with Higa, who he knew from Apple, even going as far as visiting the retailerís first physical store to offer advice to Amoruso when it opened last fall. As of right now, tis unclear how Johnson will be splitting his time between Nasty Gal and duties as chief executive of a startup called Enjoy, which aims to help online shoppers make purchasing decisions. The details regarding Enjoy continue to remain unknown as well considering that the startup has yet to launch.

    For those of you who didnít know, Jon was responsible for incubating and realizing the Apple Store concept while at Apple. The companyís retail stores continue to remain a main source of revenue for Apple. He left in 2011 to take the role of CEO at JC Penny but was drummed out in 2013 after the department store suffered heavy losses. Weíll have to see how his future endeavors work out.

    Source: LinkedIn (James Higa), Re/code

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand
    2015-03-01 12:39 AM