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J.C. Penney Erases Almost All Traces of Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson, then chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Co., listens while testifying at State Supreme court in New York on March 1
Ron Johnson, then chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Co., listens while testifying at State Supreme court in New York on March 1Photograph by Thomas Iannaccone/Bloomberg

Remember Ron Johnson? The Apple exec whose efforts to make J.C. Penney sleek and fashionable failed to the tune of nearly $1 billion? He was fired in April and hasn’t been heard from since. Meanwhile, Myron Ullman, the new chief executive (who was also the old chief executive) has taken every opportunity to reverse almost all of Johnson’s initiatives. This may be the fastest J.C. Penney has ever moved.

Most recently, and under legal pressure, the company agreed not to sell many of the Martha Stewart products Johnson hoped would help transform J.C. Penney’s home department. Stewart, as you may know, has a contract with Macy’s to sell her wares—a contract that Johnson seemed comfortable ignoring but that Ullman isn’t. He’s also closing some of Johnson’s newly renovated home departments.