Here at The Motley Fool, we like to emphasize the importance of company leadership. But some leaders are more important than others. As Warren Buffett once said, even a ham sandwich could run Coca-Cola -- no offense, Muhtar Kent. Perhaps the most important leaders are those heading companies in transition, or companies in declining industries where a certain dexterity or creativity is necessary to keep the business growing. J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) seems to be a perfect example of this type of company, as CEO Ron Johnson's bold rebranding initiative has thus far been a disappointment. In the excerpt from our premium research report below, we examine the company's leadership, starting with Johnson, and discuss how the company's leadership impacts its future:
CEO Ron Johnson is, of course, the key figure here. Before coming to J.C. Penney, Johnson spearheaded Apple's retail initiative, coming up with ideas like the Genius Bar and leading the iPhone maker to record sales-per-square-foot figures. Johnson said the goal of those stores was to "enrich lives," and they are one of the main reasons that Apple has become the most valuable company in the world.
Before Apple, Johnson spent 16 years with Target, most recently as its senior merchandising executive. At Target, Johnson helped the big-box retailer form partnerships with upscale designers, separating it from the likes of Wal-Mart and giving it its "cheap chic" image. Johnson is regarded as a visionary in his field. Johnson has said he's come to J.C. Penney to "transform, not improve."
Since coming on board at Penney's, Johnson has assembled his own management team, including COO Michael Kramer, who had previously managed a number of fashion labels as CEO of Kellwood and worked directly under Johnson at Apple as CFO of Apple Retail. Johnson also plucked Daniel Walker to serve as chief talent officer, a position he previously held with Apple. Kramer and Walker are well compensated, with salaries of $4.23 million and $8.2 million, respectively. Several other Apple alumni have also come on board, including Kristen Blum as chief technology officer and Laurie Beja Miller as executive vice president of The Square. Johnson took on the chief marketing and merchandising position after the departure of Michael Francis.
Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Coca-Cola and owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.