Apple retail chief Ron Johnson officially leaves for JC Penney

Wed, Nov 2, 2011


Apple’s retail mastermind Ron Johnson has now officially left Apple after announcing plans of his departure this past July. Johnson still has that retail itch and after feeling confident in what he’s done for Apple, he’ll now assume the CEO throne at JC Penney and hope to resurrect the once-proud department store.

Apple is still without a replacement for Johnson, but that’s not to say they’re not looking. A few months ago they hired the global search firm of Egon Zhender to help it find an adequate replacement for the Senior VP of Retail position. Reports at the time indicated that Steve Jobs himself chose the search firm because they’re looking for someone with international retail experience as Apple’s retail expansion plans continue to intensify overseas.

Apple’s retail stores are an important source of revenue for Apple and contribute billions to Apple’s bottom line annually. Not only that, but Apple’s US based retail stores earn more money per square foot than any other retailer in the country. In short, the head of Apple retail is an incredibly important position that Apple will only fill once it finds a candidate it’s 100% confident in.

You might remember that when Apple first announced its retail initiative, the plan was heartily scoffed at by a slew of tech pundits and business analysts. With over 300 retail stores worldwide now, Apple, as is typically the case, proved the doubters wrong in a major way.

5 weeks ago, Apple opened up its first retail store in Hong Kong to masses of visitors. The store there will employ 300 people and expects to handle over 40,000 visitors per day. In contrast, US retail stores on average handle about 10,000 visitors a day.

In any event, Johnson’s executive profile page has now been removed from Apple’s website.

Lastly, MacRumors notes that “current Apple vice president for retail Jerry McDougal served under Johnson for over ten years, and has been viewed by some as a solid option to take the senior executive position with Johnson’s departure.”

Related: Steve Jobs involvement in the design of Apple retail stores


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