New JCP ceo: ‘I am here to transform'
Retail Editor 3 -- Home Textiles Today, November 14, 2011
Plano, Texas - Former Apple Store chief Ron Johnson, who officially became ceo of JCPenney two weeks ago, is injecting some of his former employer's DNA into the department store company - literally.
During his first quarterly analyst call at JCP today, Johnson announced the hiring of two new senior executives, both former Apple colleagues.
Daniel Walker joins Penney on Nov. 16 as chief talent officer, overseeing all human relations and reporting directly to Johnson. He held the same position at Apple from 2000 to 2004. He also held top HR positions at Gap Inc., General Mills and Lazarus Department Stores.
Johnson also announced Michael Kramer will become JCP's new chief operating officer effective Dec. 5. Kramer is currently ceo of apparel supplier Kellwood Co. and was cfo for Apple's retail operation from 2000 to 2005, where he reported directly to Johnson. Between those two spots, he was exec vp and cfo at Abercrombie & Fitch.
This morning, Johnson said he is undertaking a strategic review of products, pricing and promotional strategy. Although he officially took up his new position Nov. 1, he has spent the past four months travelling to visit stores and suppliers, he said.
Johnson will outline the company's new strategy Jan. 25 during an analyst meeting in New York. This morning, he spoke repeatedly of "winning" and making Penney "America's favorite store."
He repeated a message he said he has delivered to JCP employees: "I am not here to improve; I am here to transform."
Discussing a broad direction for the retailer, he uttered a phrase familiar to everyone who has ever seen an Apple advertisement. JCP, he said, will "think different."
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