The Failure Of Ron Johnson As Ceo Of J.C. Penney

1778 words - 8 pages

Introduction: Brief Professional Biography
Ron Johnson was born October 15, 1959, and grew up in Minnesota as the son of an executive
of General Mills. He received his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard School of
Business and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. As Vice President
of Merchandising at Target, Johnson brought about a more upscale feel to the company with the
introduction of new lines to the company. He was Senior Vice President of Retail Operations at
Apple from 2000 to 2011, where he led a team that created the sleek, fun and functional Apple
retail stores that can be found today. Most recently he was hired by J.C. Penney in November
2011 as CEO, where he received a tremendous amount of attention. Unfortunately his actions
hurt the company generating negative publicity for him and J.C. Penney thus held his position
for only slightly longer than a year. This paper will discuss Ron Johnson’s personality, decision
making processes, leadership skills, and possible biases and how these aspects affected the
companies that he worked for.
Early Career
After earning his MBA in Business from Harvard, Johnson turned down a high paying position
at Goldman Sachs to take a position at Mervyns. This is why he took a low paying job with
plenty of room for growth and turned down a high paying job with less room for growth.
Johnson quickly climbed the ranks at Mervyns before taking a Job at Target. (CNN Money,
While at Target Johnson held many different managing positions, but it wasn’t until he held the
position as head of housewares that he made his biggest impact on Target. Here he designed
a low cost house ware product line. After this risky move Johnson started getting offers from
multiple companies, but it wasn’t until he got an offer from Apple that Johnson was ready to
leave Target. (Reingold, 2012)
At Apple, Johnson worked directly with Steve Jobs to create a retail store that attracted the
world. Johnson also credited the “Genius Bar,” which allowed customers to learn how to master
Apple products at little to no cost.
Personality is crucial to the performance a manager. According to Professor Gerard Beenen
personality consists of attitudes and behaviors that are stable over time and across situations.
(Beenen, Ch 2, slide 2) He also states that personality can transfer through DNA or learned
over time. (Beenen, Ch.2 ,slide 3) Ron Johnson’s actions reveal his personality and can show
us what kind of person he is. Johnson has been to multiple conferences and has recently been in
the tabloids. The commentary of his interviews and actions has given me good insight into his
personality. When Johnson was the Senior Vice President at Apple he started the retail side of
Apple along with the Genius Bar (ABC 7, 2014). Johnson wanted Apple to excel and he wanted
to make great changes. According to McClelland’s Theory of Need, Johnson would fall into the

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