Johnson Era is Over: What Will It Take to Fix Penney?
The new boss is exactly the same as the old boss at J.C. Penney.
Yesterday, the department store operator announced that Ron Johnson was out as CEO and his replacement is the man he replaced, Myron "Mike" Ullman.
The news of Mr. Ullman’s return has prompted some head scratching. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times among others questioned the wisdom of bringing Mr. Ullman back.
"Most of the senior employees that he had assembled at Penney either left or were dismissed by Mr. Johnson. And it was dissatisfaction with where Mr. Ullman was taking the company that led Mr. Ackman to look for another leader in the first place," the Times reported.
Skepticism aside, Mr. Ullman is back.
"While J.C. Penney has faced a difficult period, its legacy as a leader in American retailing is an asset that can be built upon and leveraged," said Mr. Ullman in a statement. "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."
Bill Ackman, Penney’s largest investor, handpicked Mr. Johnson to replace Mr. Ullman. Speaking last week at a Thomson Reuters investment conference, Mr. Ackman acknowledged that Mr. Johnson had made "big mistakes" bringing Penney "very close to a disaster."
- jcpenney Appoints Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III Chief Executive Officer, Succeeding Ron Johnson – J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
- JC Penney ousts CEO Ron Johnson after turnaround strategy fails, names predecessor to top spot – The Associated Press/The Washington Post
- Penney Ousts Ron Johnson, Rehires Myron Ullman – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson is out – Los Angeles Times (tiered sub.)
- J.C. Penney Ousts Chief of 17 Months – NY Times
Why do you think J.C. Penney turned to Mike Ullman to run the company again? What will the department store chain need to do to undo the damage done under Ron Johnson? What changes taken under Mr. Johnson should Penney keep in place?