JCPenney has ditched CEO Ron Johnson after a 17-month run that produced some of the most disastrous results in retail history. Johnson, who masterminded Apple's retail success, will be replaced by his predecessor Myron Ullman, reports the New York Times. The struggling chain is in the middle of a huge—and very expensive—revamp ordered by Johnson, whose compensation dropped 96% from 2011 to 2012.
So how did Johnson get it so wrong at JCPenney after getting it so right at Apple? Doing away with sales events wasn't a winning strategy, and he lost the confidence of directors after he decided to reinvent the chain's stores without following the usual practice of testing changes first, the Wall Street Journal reports. But the real reason Johnson couldn't replicate his Apple success at JCPenney may have been because he was running Apple's retail operations at a time when the company was coming out with world-beating products like the iPod and the iPhone, writes Daniel Gross at the Daily Beast. "And that wasn’t a skill Johnson could easily transfer to a listing middle-market department store chain."