Yahoo and J.C. Penney Show Perils for Star CEOs

Marissa Mayer appears on NBC’s “Today” show Photograph by Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

While she might not relish the comparison, Marissa Mayer’s mission at Yahoo! is remarkably similar to Ron Johnson’s marching orders at J.C. Penney. Both were recruited to their CEO jobs by activist shareholders trying to turn around troubled companies. As stars at hot brands, both were welcomed as saviors whose hiring sent the stock of their new employers soaring. And both have discovered that leading a turnaround is a very different challenge than playing for a winning team.

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