Penney Offers Training Program for New CEO
More often than not when a major retailer hires a new chief executive it either goes outside and brings in someone with previous CEO experience or it hires someone from within that has been groomed for the job.
Occasionally, companies go looking outside for a rising star without previous top job experience to come in and shake things up. That, it appears, was the case with J.C. Penney’s hiring of Ron Johnson from Apple.
Mr. Johnson, who is widely credited for the success of the Apple Store, will join the company on Aug. 1 as a director and then become CEO on Nov. 1, taking over the title from current chief Myron "Mike" Ullman who will become executive chairman of the board.
In a departure from what normally happens, however, Mr. Johnson will not assume the full duties of a CEO on day one. Instead, he will focus on marketing and merchandising with the goal of improving the shopping experience in Penney’s stores. Mr. Ullman will be responsible for continuing to oversee accounting, finance, logistics and other aspects of the CEO’s duties. During the period between Nov. 1 and Feb.1, Mr. Johnson will be transitioned into his other duties.
Thomas Engibous, lead director for the J.C. Penney board, told Dow Jones Newswires, "Ron and Mike both believe it would help the transition to have a short period during which they will work together to lead the company."
Interestingly, Mr. Johnson told Bloomberg News last week, "It’s our job to rethink everything. Retailing’s always been about creativity; it’s about creating exciting new ways for people to shop, new products for people to purchase, new ways to do things."
It seems that new way of thinking extends to on-the-job training.
- J. C. Penney Company Names Ron Johnson as its Next Chief Executive Officer, Effective November 1 – J. C. Penney Company, Inc.
- Penney New CEO To Assume Control After Brief Transition – Dow Jones Newswires/The Wall Street Journal
- J.C. Penney Nabbing Johnson From Apple Sets ‘Huge Expectation’ – Bloomberg News
Discussion Questions: What do you think of J.C. Penney’s plan to transition Ron Johnson into his job as CEO of the company? Is this a common practice in retailing?