Last year’s hiring of Johnson, a retail superstar with years of experience at Target and the Apple Store, was viewed as the best chance to save JCPenney—and perhaps save the struggling brick-and-mortar department store business model as a whole. Johnson has since deemed it necessary to embark on a dramatic, perhaps even desperate overhaul of the company, in which coupons and “fake” prices were replaced with a new “fair and square” pricing system. The changes have resulted largely in confused shoppers and poor sales figures, bringing on the need for JCPenney to tweak its message and policies several times all in the name of “simplifying” its pricing. Through it all, Johnson has persisted in a vision of radically reinventing JCPenney, introducing a “store-within-a-store” initiative and even announcing that checkout counters will be eliminated by 2014. Johnson’s plans are nothing if not bold, but investors seem especially skeptical that JCPenney can turn things around, with the company’s stock price losing half its value in the six months after the makeover began.
- Tough Leaders for Tough Times
- Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!
- Ron Johnson, JCPenney
- Thorstein Heins, Research In Motion
- Wayne Sales, Supervalu
- John Maguire, Friendly’s
- Louis D’Ambrosio, Sears
- Donald Layton, Freddie Mac
- Karl-Erling Trogen, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB
- Patrick Donahoe, U.S. Postal Service
- ?, Best Buy