Apple's retail store head to depart for J.C. Penney

The head of Apple's highly successful retail store operation is jumping ship to become the new CEO of J.C. Penney. Marketwatch reports that Ron Johnson, the senior vice-president of Apple's retail division, will become the new head of J.C. Penney in November. Johnson has been the head of Apple's retail store division since the company launched its first stores just over 10 years ago. He came to Apple in 2000 and helped to lead the retail store operation as it opened over 300 locations worldwide so far.

Apple's retail stores were not given much of a chance to succeed at first but the stores were consumer friendly, allowing customers to try out Apple's products setting up the "Genius Bar" for help with its products and more. The designs of the Apple Stores (slick steel and glass and warn open spaces) also was a trademark that made the stores stand out from the crowd.

Johnson's departure from Apple is one of few major executives that the company has lost in the past several years. In a chat with the New York Times, he said, "Apple has taught me, really, what breakthrough innovation is and how to energize teams to accomplish that. I’ve seen that happen on the product side at Apple; we’ve done that in our stores. I think that’s what I bring." He has not announced what plans he has for J.C. Penney.

AppleInsider reports that Apple is already looking for a replacement for Johnson. The story also states that Johnson has earned $400 million over the past seven years with sales of his Apple shares and options.

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