Apple Alums Follow Johnson to JC Penney

It seems that Ron Johnson, the former Apple retail exec and new CEO of JC Penney, is trying to get the band back together.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in a little over a week at Penney, Johnson is assembling a team that includes Daniel Walker, Apple’s former chief talent officer,  and Michael Kramer, former CFO of Apple Retail. Both were at Apple from 2000 to 2005. Walker recruited Johnson to Apple’s retail operations from Target 11 years ago.

Kramer was lured away from his job as CEO of Kellwood, which manages a stable of designer fashion brands. He has been credited with better focusing that company on higher-end, higher-margin labels, a move said to mesh well with Johnson’s thinking for Penney.

Meanwhile, Michael Francis, a former Target marketer, has been named Penney’s president. Johnson’s and Francis’s careers at Target overlapped by 15 years, though they didn’t work directly with each other.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Johnson’s team brings to Penney the clean, uncluttered look that Apple and Target stores have.

Former Penney CEO Myron Ullman brought in designer lines and allowed brands like makeup producer Sephora to set up their own shops within Penney stores.

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