JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson Is Out

Tyler Durden's picture

So much for the "transformational" CEO, poached from AAPL and credited with creating the AAPL retail mystique. As per CNBC, he now effectively "out":

  • J.C. Penney names Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III CEO, succeeding Ron Johnson

At least he lasted just a bit longer than the former JCP president Mike Francis, who came, saw, collected $10 million, and quit nine months later.

Why the stock is soaring after hours on this latest admission of defeat is beyond us. If anything, this means JCP is closer to filing than ever as the last bastion of hope at the distressed retailer is now gone.  Update: -7% now.

Full press release:

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.”


About Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III


Mike Ullman is a veteran retail industry executive with more than 25 years of experience who has served in leadership roles at several of the world’s best-known retail companies.  Prior to spending seven years leading jcpenney, as Chairman and CEO through November 2011 and Executive Chairman through January 2012, he served as Directeur General of the world’s largest luxury group, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, in Paris; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DFS Group Limited, the world’s leading travel retailer; and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of R.H. Macy & Co., Inc. Mr. Ullman’s prior retail experience also includes leading Wharf Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong and posts at Federated Department Stores earlier in his career. In addition, he previously served as a White House Fellow in the Reagan Administration, Vice President of Business Affairs at the University of Cincinnati, and as an International Account Manager for IBM Corporation.


Mr. Ullman currently serves on the boards of directors of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), Saks Incorporated (NYSE: SKS), and the COFRA Group headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, and as Deputy Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He is an advisor to the board of directors of the Retail Industry Leaders Association and is a past Chairman of the National Retail Federation. He is also Chairman of the Board of Mercy Ships International, a global medical and human services charity. He previously served as a director of Ralph Lauren Corporation; Taubman Centers, Inc.; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton; Federated Department Stores; and Segway, LLC.

Shame for Ron really: -51% since his official start date.


and the instant market reaction (always efficient)...


And here is Bill Ackman explaining to CNBC and anyone else listening just what the magic plan was to reincarnate the dying brand. Oh well, time for Plan B.


Finally, here is the presentation in which the same Ackman above bashes the same Ullman who just regained the reigns of the foundering retailer:

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notbot's picture

no surprise.  Ackman all but threw him under the bus in that Reuters interview.  

Of course, no mention of the fact that HE was the one who ostensibly signed off on RJ's strategy in the first place.

Fall guy. Last I checked, Ackman was on the board, no?

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

A stupid, stupid hire. How the fuck are Apple stores even remotely like department stores??

notbot's picture

Sucks when a stock rockets after your ouster hits the tape

camaro68ss's picture

I bet the fucker quit the next day his bonus was deposited in his account

Say What Again's picture

I've asked this question before, and I'll ask it again.

How many CEO's bonuses do we need to "claw back" to fund the debt? 

The answer is somwhere between 100 & 200.

Seem like a simple solution to me.

darteaus's picture

Start with all the CEOs in the Senate, House and White House.

Aguadulce's picture

Does Bill also think that ousting CEOs is un-American, just like shorting stocks?

SilverIsKing's picture

JCP is awesome.  I am in JCP almost every weekday but have bought very little there.  Actually, I've bought nothing there.  I like them because they provide good access to 32nd Street when transferring from the M train to Penn Station.  In the winter, I like them even more.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

If Ron Johnson ran the MTA, you'd enter the station and then, dig it, go into a station within the station.  

CheapBastard's picture

Silver, I love JCP too but for a different reason. I cut through on my way to work or a date and spritz on some FREE cologne so I smell very nice and maybe even "get some."


Don't forget, I'm a Cheap Bastard!

smlbizman's picture

i bet you george fells sorry for ricky and will get off his throat now......


edit... looks like ( hands on hips) im ACK Man is like most investors,...cant stand to sell at a loss, would rather lose much more first...

Say What Again's picture


Their salary is NOT affected by the sequester.

They are IMUNE to insider trading rules.

But its OK, because the Merican public can still watch Dancing with the Fools.

LasVegasDave's picture

yeah, lets take all private capital away from all private businesses and give it to washington

Right, homie?

astoriajoe's picture

I think you may have misread the comment. Just an opinion. Perhaps I misread it.

otto skorzeny's picture

LVD is just Sheldon's personal hand-puppet- he knows not what he says

LasVegasDave's picture

20 billion net worth for that yid.

he pays guys like you to clean toilets in his casinos


Say What Again's picture

You're right.  LVD is his hand-puppet - and you oughta see what he does with his hands.

otto skorzeny's picture

I'd choke down a bullet before I lifted a finger to do anything for that hebe.

88888's picture

haha ya, and told them there is no hope. They should just liquidate while they can

ZerOhead's picture

Actually it has been rumored that Johnson put on a $50 million short prior to taking over at JCP.

As long as he closed it out in time he'll be just fine...

icanhasbailout's picture

Customers are dumbasses in both cases?

astoriajoe's picture

Both are generally big boxes, with some portion above ground, while other parts are below ground...

Watchingtheweasels's picture

They're not.  But you're missing the prime qualifications to be hired as a CEO:  (1)5'10" or taller, (2) Look good in a suit/dress, (3) Live in the right places, (4) Play golf at the right places, (5) Have friends on the board, (6) Know money people.  Actually understanding the business you are trying to run from the ground up?  Not so much.

GMadScientist's picture

"How the fuck are Apple stores even remotely like department stores?"

Both are chock full of morons.

newworldorder's picture

The ego of corporate executives and board members to hire someone from a highflying, storied company is the primary driver.Penney could have hired any executive from any othr retail company, but went with someone with a name presence.

Larry Dallas's picture

Someone from Apple may have been seen as a flyer. But I agree, Apple and JCP are like mixing silk and polyester, respectively.


Motorhead's picture

Sounds like a job for Simon Black.  Oh, wait, he's been there and done that already, I'm sure.

Slartebartfast's picture

But he is such a handsome man!  With that JFK smile and all.  How could he fail?  I bet he can work a cocktail party like nobodies business too.

Oh well.  Time to bring in a short, fat bald guy that has some actual experience.

ebworthen's picture

They booted him one year too late.

Ackman and the rest of the board should be fired too.

Put actual employees from JCPenney on the board, not a bunch of MBA sliver spoon "pee-in-the-stairwell at Versailles need to lose their head" socialites.

Spider's picture

Hmm JCP up 10% after hours - sure because the problem with this company was related to the CEO.  Plunging consumer incomes had nothing to do with it...

Vashta Nerada's picture

I believe Johnson's tactics actually drove JCP's traditional customers away.

Vashta Nerada's picture

The LGBT community will be devastated.

Motorhead's picture

And take that brick and mortar with you!

OT - ManU got spanked by City this evening, 2-1.

imaginalis's picture

Only 12 points behind now with 7 games to play

Motorhead's picture

It's gonna be VERY tough for City to pull it out.  City definitely deserved to win this evening.  I'd like City to get a little closer to ManU just to make it somewhat interesting; else, the battles of teams avoiding relegation will be more exciting.

imaginalis's picture

Third and fourth spot battle is on too.

CaptainSpaulding's picture

I bought some Haggar pants there last week. No issues. Nice clean store.

McMolotov's picture

My local Penney's looks like it hasn't been updated since 1982. The carpet is stained, there are literally holes in the walls, there are about five places to check out and one person (either a college kid or a woman in her 60s) for all of them.

It's what I imagine a Penney's in Kazakhstan would look like.

It's still a few steps above the K-Mart in town, though, where I actually had to brush a layer of fucking dust off a bag of candy a few years ago. Haven't been back since because it was too depressing.

Agent P's picture

I think even brand new K-Marts look like that.

CaptainSpaulding's picture

Im not saying the store was spotless, But it was clean and organized enough for me to find my stuff and leave pretty quickly. Overall, A decent store.

Slartebartfast's picture

Third World Reatail bitchez!

Slartebartfast's picture

Third World Retail bitchez!