Former Apple retail chief's job just happens to be open
Former Apple retail boss Ron Johnson is leaving department store chain JCPenney, fired after his plan to remake the venerable business in an effort to update to 21st century buying habits failed to win over customers. Johnson, who put the brakes on endless sales in favor of everyday low prices and remodelled stores to have "store within a store" concepts for major brands, will be succeeded by his predecessor, Mike Ullman. Johnson left Apple in late 2011 to revitalize the chain, but the 111-year-old company has posted losses for the last six quarters.
Apple allegedly pushing profit at expense of workers, maintenance
The labor situation in Apple Stores is still in a rough state, despite promises by the company, according to sources for ifoAppleStore. For example, contrary to statements by Apple retail head John Browett, workers were recently laid off or fired, but later just rehired -- and while interstore transfers are now going through, demotions aren't being reversed, overtime is still limited, and managers are assigning minimum hours to part-timers. Apple is thought to be trying several methods of maximizing retail profits, including changing how worker performance is rated.
Most pay locked up in stock options
Apple CEO Tim Cook was the highest-paid CEO of 2011, according to a study released by the Hay Group and the Wall Street Journal. Cook's package for the year was valued at $378 million, although most of it is locked up in the form of stock grants issued after he took control from Steve Jobs in August. The first half of the shares will vest in 2016; the remainder will follow in 2021, contingent on Cook staying with Apple.
Department store fills with ex-Apple crew
As a part of a management expansion, JC Penney has hired a core member of Apple's retail design staff, Benjamin Fay, as its new executive VP of real estate, store design and development. The press release contains a statement from JCP CEO Ron Johnson, who was long the head of Apple's retail division until he left last November. "Ben is an incredibly creative professional with extraordinary leadership skills. Having worked with him over the last 12 years, I am delighted to see Ben step into this new role at jcp," the quote reads. "His design influence has made the Apple stores highly regarded retail destinations around the world, and I am excited to have Ben place his own mark on jcp as we re-imagine the jcpenney store of the future."
Most money still relegated to stocks
In all Apple CEO Tim Cook pulled in about $378 million in 2011, even if most of that money won't be available to him for years, according to the New York Times. The bulk, $376.2 million, consisted of a one-time stock grant that won't vest unless Cook stays with Apple for 10 years. In terms of immediate pay, his combined salary, bonuses, and miscellaneous perks during the year amounted to $1.8 million.
Says comic 'captures what America is about'
Former Apple head of retail Ron Johnson, now CEO of JC Penney, has had to defend one of his first decisions in the face of an online campaign to force the company to abandon its new spokesperson, comic and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Accusing the company of "jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon" by hiring DeGeneres, who is an open lesbian, the 40,000-member group "One Million Moms" posted a note on Facebook and called on its members to call the retail chain.
Apple clerks allegedly not pushed to upsell
The success of Apple Stores is attributable to more than just their products, claims JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson in a Harvard Business Review column and a related interview. Formerly Apple's senior VP of retail, Johnson credits "the experience" he helped to manufacture. "People come to the Apple Store for the experience -- and they’re willing to pay a premium for that," he writes. "There are lots of components to that experience, but maybe the most important -- and this is something that can translate to any retailer -- is that the staff isn't focused on selling stuff, it's focused on building relationships and trying to make people’s lives better. That may sound hokey, but it’s true."
Leaves fate of Apple retail chain in question
Ron Johnson has now officially left his post as the head of Apple's retail division, but with no known successor, reports note. Today marks the start of Johnson's new position as the CEO of retailer JC Penney. Accordingly, a listing for Johnson has been newly removed from Apple's Executive Profiles page.
Three month delay being official and real control
Ron Johnson, Apple's outgoing retail head, will only be assuming full duties as JC Penney CEO on February 1st, a report says. Johnson is officially slated to take the CEO title on November 1st, but in explanation JC Penney states that he will initially handle only marketing and merchandising. The plan is for a three-month transition, with Johnson's predecessor -- Myron Ullman III -- serving as executive chairman.
'Deep bench' of talent should overcome retail loss
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu is offering a positive opinion of Apple's prospects after its loss of retail head Ron Johnson to JC Penney. While the departure is considered a definite loss for Apple, Wu sees a "deep bench" of talent in the retail division, and believes the company's culture and way of thinking is ingrained to the point where it can manage even talented departures well.
Expose explains retail chain's inner workings
While Apple Stores have been extremely successful, they are very closely controlled, and may be encountering problems as the chain grows ever bigger, according to a Wall Street Journal expose. The paper's information comes from interviews with current and former Apple workers, as well as confidential training manuals and a recording of a store meeting. One reason relatively little is known about how Apple Stores operate is because the company imposes tight lips on retail clerks, banning them not only from discussing product rumors but also writing anything about the company online, or even admitting product defects to customers before corporate has acknowledged them, the Journal's sources say. Restrictions are also placed on language, such that employees may be forbidden from correcting product pronunciations and required to use terms like "as it turns out" instead of a more natural "unfortunately."
Apple VP Ron Johnson exits for JC Penney
(Updated with an Apple statement) Apple lost a cornerstone of its retail efforts on Tuesday as its retail VP Ron Johnson exited to become the CEO of JC Penney. He would replace Mike Ullman in the top spot on November 1 and would join the board of directors on August 1. Ullman would stay on as executive chairman of the board.
Company claims software driving product cycles
Apple will likely reveal "major feature/function updates" at this year's WWDC in early June, says Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. The prediction is based on a meeting with key Apple executives, including CFO Peter Oppenheimer, senior retail VP Ron Johnson and VP of Internet services Eddy Cue. During the gathering the executives explained that Apple "generally views product cycles as software driven," according to Huberty.
Chinese stores seeing 40,000 people per day
A third Shanghai Apple Store will be biggest the company has built in China to date, an Apple spokeswoman says. The outlet is planned for the city's central Nanjing Road, and will become Apple's fifth in China. Senior retail VP Ron Johnson explains that the shop's size is needed to cope with intense traffic, as Chinese Apple Stores are visited by over 40,000 people per day. That level is roughly four times the American average.
Outlet includes unusual outdoor gathering area
The construction of the Lincoln Park Apple Store, opening tomorrow, has resulted in some major changes to its surrounding area, the Chicago Tribune writes. Apple paid about $3.9 million to help refurbish the nearby North/Clybourn transit station, which the Tribune claims was "so dingy" that Red Line riders would deliberately get off at a nearby stop to avoid it. The station is close to the poor Cabrini-Green housing project, which is undergoing a demolition and relocation program.
Efforts to close gap not having any effect
Apple is still unable to cope with interest in the iPhone 4, two of the company's key executives indicate. A Deutsche Bank analyst, Chris Whitmore, recently met with CFO Peter Oppenheimer and senior VP of retail Ron Johnson to discuss the state of sales. "iPhone 4 demand remains very robust and despite efforts to close the supply-demand imbalance and the continued supply ramp, Apple still cannot meet iPhone demand," Whitmore says of the discussion.
Individuals claim tens of millions in profit
Several Apple executives have become even richer after a stock selloff on Thursday, Fortune reports. Over a million restricted Apple shares became fully vested on Wednesday, and the next morning, four executives sold most of them under a Rule 10b5-1 trading plan. COO Tim Cook is noted to have profited most, having sold 300,000 shares at prices ranging from $226.90 to $230.70; the shares were originally worth $72.01 apiece. Cook's total haul is noted to have been $68.8 million, although $32 million was diverted to taxes.
Apple talks iPhone launch
Apple on Wednesday touted that the new in-store activation process will only take between 12 and 15 minutes as well as said that it will not offer the iPhone 3G via its online store as a means to prevent unauthorized unlocks by customers. A Bloomberg interview with Apple retail chief Ron Johnson notes that each of its 185 retail stores in the U.S. are prepped to handle about 100 customers an hour (about 30 at a time) and that each customer, as detailed on its website, will be required to present credit card and Social Security number so the device can be activated immediately; unlike last year, customers will be required to sign a two-year contract.