J.C. Penney Company (NYSE:JCP) CEO Ron Johnson is out, according to sources cited by CNBC. The stock initially rose approximately 11 percent in after-hours trading after the day’s gains of almost 3 percent.
Since Ron Johnson took the helm of the struggling retailer in 2011, shares of the company’s stock have fallen 51 percent. The chain’s market cap has dropped from $6.84 billion to $3.49 billion, and it has reported losses in all four of its last quarters. In the company’s most recently completed quarter, J.C. Penney same-store sales were down 32 percent.
There’s been speculation that Johnson would leave after the company’s last disappointing earnings report. Then a spokesperson for the retail chain denied those rumors. However, last week Johnson’s biggest supporter changed his tune about the former Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) executive. Speaking at a Thomson Reuters conference in Boston, activist investor Bill Ackman called Johnson’s tenure at J.C. Penney Company (NYSE:JCP) “something close to a disaster.” He had personally selected Johnson as the man to turn J.C. Penney around, and he’s been fully supportive until last week.
Ron Johnson has been heavily criticized for the changes he made at the struggling retailer. Last week Ackman said one of the biggest problems was that Johnson made too many big changes too quickly.
J.C. Penney Company (NYSE:JCP) shareholders undoubtedly had high expectations when Ron Johnson took over as CEO. The changes he made apparently haven’t resonated with the company’s previous buyers and failed to attract new ones. Instead of constantly running sales and offering coupons, he changed the chain’s structure to one of everyday low prices. He also brought in merchandise that was more fashionable.