The board of directors of J.C. Penney announced Monday that current chief executive officer Ron Johnson was being replaced by Myron E. Ullman, who previously served as CEO of the company from 2004 to 2011.
Ullman has also been elected to the board of directors.
Johnson, who joined the company from Apple in 2011, has stepped down from the post, effective immediately.
Johnson attempted to turn around the struggling retailer by rebranding and adding a series of in-store shops featuring top brands including Liz Claiborne, Joe Fresh and, most recently, homewares brands like Jonathan Adler.
But the new branding alienated the retailer’s core shoppers, while failing to bring in fresh blood. According to the Wall Street Journal, JCP lost $4.3 billion in sales in 2012.
“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,” says Ullman. “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.”
“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 J.C. Penney faces and take steps to improve the company’s performance,” says Thomas Engibous, chairman of the board, J.C. Penney. “On behalf of the board of directors, we would like to thank Ron Johnson for his contributions while at J.C. Penney and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”