Update: Ex-Apple exec fulfills dream, becomes JCPenney CEO

PLANO, Texas — Last week, RetailingToday.com reported that former Apple executive Ron Johnson would succeed Mike Ullman as CEO of JCPenney. Today, JCPenney announced that Ullman, who was originally slated to remain on the company's board of directors indefinitely, will now be leaving the company on Feb. 1, 2012.

Commenting on the transition plan, Johnson said, "I look forward to becoming the CEO of JCPenney and working side by side with Mike during the first three months of my tenure. I am excited to work with Mike, the board and the entire JCPenney team as we lay the foundation to transform the way America shops. I cannot wait to get started."

For the past 11 years Johnson served as SVP retail at Apple where he led the company’s retail strategy from inception to more than 300 locations worldwide. While the Apple retail network isn’t large, this is one situation where size doesn’t matter as Apple stores approach to customer service and operating model are widely praised.

Prior to Apple, Johnson spent 15 years at Target, last serving as VP merchandising. During his tenure at Target, he had responsibility for categories such as men’s apparel, women’s apparel and accessories, children’s and home. According to JCPenney, Johnson is most noted for launching and leading the design initiative at Target, which began with the Michael Graves collection for home and included several other key brands such as Calphalon, Carr, Bodum and more.

He also has an MBA from Harvard Business School and his Bachelor of Arts in economics from Stanford.

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