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J.C. Penney gets $1-billion boost after picking Apple exec as CEO

J.C. Penney Co. shares are rocketing Tuesday after the retailer said it lured Apple Inc.’s Ron Johnson to take over as chief executive of the 1,100-store chain.

The stock was up $5.66, or 19%, to $35.77 at about 11 a.m. PDT, boosting Penney’s market value by $1.2 billion, to $7.6 billion.

Johnson Johnson, 52, has led Apple’s highly successful retail-store strategy for the last 11 years. Before that he was a merchandising executive at Target Corp. for 15 years.

“I’ve always dreamed of leading a major retail company as CEO, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help J.C. Penney reimagine what I believe to be the single greatest opportunity in American retailing today, the department store,” Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson will take over Nov. 1. Penney’s current chief executive, Myron E. Ullman III, will become executive chairman of the Plano, Texas-based company.

Penney has been under pressure from its largest shareholder, William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital, to improve its performance. Pershing owns 18.2% of the stock.

Ackman sounded pleased on Tuesday, telling Bloomberg News that “it’s a credit to the company that they were able to recruit an executive of Ron’s capabilities.”

Apple said it was “actively recruiting” to replace Johnson. Apple shares were up $5.20 to $331.80 on a strong day for the market overall.

-- Tom Petruno

Photo: Ron Johnson. Credit: Brian Kersey / Getty Images

 
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