Ron Johnson is broadly credited with building out Apple's insanely profitable retail store business. Last November, Johnson shocked the business world when he announced he was leaving Apple to become CEO at department store chain JC Penney. On Quora, Brian Roemmele provided this terrific answer to why Johnson made the move and what it could mean for JCP's prospects.
Why? His desire to change just about every aspect of the department store experience.
The Department Store, Reinvented
Ron Johnson has always had his heart in retail all the way back to his product positions at Target. This has been a theme through his entire career, the turnaround for retail. He helped bring Apple from no retail stores in 2001 to a rather high zenith during his years at Apple. I think he was looking for a new challenge and found it in the form of J.C. Penney's. It was a bold move for Ron, so much so, that the late Steve Jobs said, "What are you crazy?". Apparently after Ron shared his vision with Steve, he sort of agreed. Steve actually personally recruited Ron from Target where he had already completely reinvented what was a mild Discount Store brand. Steve trusted Ron with just about all of the broad strokes we now take for granted at the Apple retail store.
Yesterday (1/25/2012) at Pier 57 in New York City, Ron revealed what he has been working on since he left Apple in November. It is his plan to completely remake what we have become used to in the department store experience.
It is his plan to remake every aspect of J.C. Penney's by 2015. In his very Steve Jobs like presentation he presented just how "broke" the traditional retail department store model has become (Full video:http://www.jcpmediaroom.com/post... -thanks to Mark Burton).
Ron has a vision to recast the role these retail space play in a similar way he helped recast the computer store experience for Apple. It will start with a bold new Logo. The logo is designed to become iconic in both shape and color. The Red square will become a frame to highlight products in a very direct way. There is an element of the American Flag embodied in the design, and it is a gutsy statement:
Each store will be redesigned to have an open and accessible, uncluttered Apple Retail store-like feel.
He made a clear point that J.C.