Why Was Penney's Ron Johnson Fired?

Apr 11, 2013 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: MediaPost

This week, JC Penny -- or jcp, as they are now affectionately known -- ousted CEO Ron Johnson after just 17 months on the job.

Comments

Showing posts 1 - 18 of18
elmo

Humble, TX

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#1
Apr 11, 2013
 

Judged:

7

2

1

Ron Johnson was fired because he was bad for business. He and his cohorts instituted a regime that made every effort to terrorize and dumb down the workforce. The end result was a demoralized sales staff and a contemptuous public that even now believes he is laughing on his way to the bank. The loyal customers will remember him as the con artist that messed up their beloved department store and fired their friends.
CDC

United States

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#2
Apr 11, 2013
 

Judged:

3

2

2

To put it in a less biased manner than what I am assuming is a jaded employee (Elmo), Ron Johnson was terminated as CEO because he has lost the company millions. While the fresh look, better quality merchandise, and mobile register service was a step ahead, the idea of lower pricing and no coupons (coupled with terrible marketing) was a step back. This cost the company millions of dollars. Then, to balance the deficit, he cut payroll, meaning many older and more experienced associates and management were replaced by greener ones, or not at all. These cuts left many employees jaded, which affected customer service and internal workings; this only furthered the downward spiral jcp has been in.

-a level headed employee
Jvette

Henderson, NV

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#3
Apr 11, 2013
 

Judged:

2

CDC wrote:
To put it in a less biased manner than what I am assuming is a jaded employee (Elmo), Ron Johnson was terminated as CEO because he has lost the company millions. While the fresh look, better quality merchandise, and mobile register service was a step ahead, the idea of lower pricing and no coupons (coupled with terrible marketing) was a step back. This cost the company millions of dollars. Then, to balance the deficit, he cut payroll, meaning many older and more experienced associates and management were replaced by greener ones, or not at all. These cuts left many employees jaded, which affected customer service and internal workings; this only furthered the downward spiral jcp has been in.
-a level headed employee
I agree with what you said and would add that the lost customers HATED Ron Johnson and refused to come back even with coupons until he was gone. They made this know in calls and letters to corporate.
The BOD really had no choice. The new customers weren't enough to overcome the loss of so many old time customers and those old time customers were not coming back with Ron at the helm.
I agree also that the marketing was terrible. The initial Ellen commercials were stupid and didn't lay out the vision Ron had. Many commercials were emotive rather than attention grabbing and focused on the merchandise.
Ron's arrogance was his downfall. He deserved to go, but he has left a lot of carnage in his wake.

Since: Mar 13

Pittsburgh, PA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#4
Apr 11, 2013
 

Judged:

2

1

there are reports business was off another 10%. What would that make it? a 35% gross business loss and still falling. The BOD waited too long he should of been fired last fall.......
laura baltimore

Rosedale, MD

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#5
Apr 12, 2013
 
why was rotten apple fired
laura baltimore

Rosedale, MD

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#6
Apr 12, 2013
 
good riddens to bad rubbish rotten apple got what he deserved the red shirt deal now jcpenny will surive this major crisis mr ken will bring jcpenny back to life it will take a while but i think he can do it jcpenny will now sell martha stwert things in our home and bedding deparment that is good news for us bring back sales and coupons and fitting room people and sales support and we will be back on track once again hopfully in the near future

Since: Mar 13

Pittsburgh, PA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#7
Apr 12, 2013
 

Judged:

2

Did ron really aquire many new customers? mostl to me it appeared he specialized in firing the existing ones.
Doug Rottentooth

Mckinney, TX

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#8
Apr 12, 2013
 

Judged:

2

He was let go because he thought he could "will" the company to success, and the board could not control his willy nilly urge to spend as much as he wanted to make it what he wanted. a month or 2 more with out of control spending and no sales to leverage would have meant certain bankruptcy. The only solace we have is that he will go down in history as one of the most colossal business losers of all time.

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#9
Apr 13, 2013
 

Judged:

3

2

1

Doug: Thank you for your response. I think your first sentence about RJ thinking he could "will" the company to success is spot on. That fits my perception of who he is and under the right circumstances that characteristic can work and work extremely well. It just wasn't JCPenney at this particular time. The BOD bought his vision and there were underlings in the store who bought his vision, but there were too many who didn't for all sorts of reasons so it was doomed from the start. For something this drastic to be successful, the majority of the employees have to be on board and that was never the case. Throw in the mistakes like ignoring the needs of the customers of size, mature women, whatever it just wouldn't work on this scale.

I don't think America has heard the last of Ron Johnson and he will either start up his own business or someone with a similar vision but wanting to start on a much smaller scale will pick him up. He is too bright to not learn from the mistakes made at jcp. Despite all the disastrous decisions made due to lack of planning on how to implement in a way customers could gradually accept, he did make some positive changes that has moved jcp a lot more forward then it used to be less then two years ago.

However, having that "will" is an excellent trait to have for someone running a small business that can grow as the market is ready.

Since: Mar 13

Pittsburgh, PA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#10
Apr 13, 2013
 

Judged:

3

3

1

So what positive changes did ron bring? please supply detailed descriptions.

ron did cut a billion bucks in overhead by cutting workers but unfortunately cutting customer service to non existent.

Frakly I think rons reputation is so badly damaged no one will want him as a CEO/

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#11
Apr 14, 2013
 

Judged:

6

3

2

Bob: He eliminated a lot of useless "work" that team members had to do each night as part of the process of "closing". This involves the registers, tils, etc. Anyone who has worked there long enough remember the tedious and time consuming processes we used to have to do with counting money, sorting all those coupons and receipts and paperwork. The streamlining all occurred over several weeks time early in the RJ era. It really made us realize how much time was wasted all those previous years.

He cleaned house with a very top heavy middle management and restructured the way stores were run. Along with the supposedly "good" employees who left were a great many who were not right for a different approach to retail. And although you have consistently stated that the only employees working at jcp were brand new, underdressed,not trained teenagers, there are many of us who have been there a great many years that were able to adjust and fit in under any kind of management and still give great customer service.

Also contrary to your posts, the "new" kinds of customers, the ones who would never have stepped foot into a JCPenneys were coming in and buying on a regular basis. Not every man and woman are a size 3XL and the trim and fit guys that had size needs and craving for some style had been ignored in the past.

The orderly, uncluttered look of the store had become with the shops and were trying in the other areas were visually pleasing and easier to maintain by team members who were out on the floor working with customers. There weren't all those signs all over the place with confusing information.

In some departments there really was a spirit of cooperation, pride in giving great customer service, care in how they presented themselves in dress and actually used the hand held devices in helpful ways for the customers. Since that could not be said for all the departments in our store, and obviously not at all in some stores especially in the Pittsburgh area, it was still a good idea and could work with the right personnel.

Also, the fair and square pricing had been catching on and there were a lot more customers who saw the wisdom of that then I think a lot of people realized. They just didn't speak up until after it was obvious that wasn't going to be the case anymore. Introducing the occasional coupons and a sale here and there in recent months was increasing traffic. If more time had been given to add the types of merchandise some customers have been clamoring for (and I think that was happening like the reintroduction of Alfred Dunner in the bigger sizes, St John Bay in misses, classic sizes in suits) there would be more customers finding something to buy with those coupons.

It has been interesting to note that although those people who write on these boards complaining and hating anything and everything that was connected to jcp, especially the CEO, most customers in the store since the Home remodel had absolutely no clue that anything was going on at jcp. They would say things like "Oh, are you guys remodeling?". I hear that all the time. A few would say they heard we had a new CEO but not know much of the drama behind all that.

I don't hate people. It is not in my nature. I can roll with the punches and accept change and see the positive in people and those changes. Some people are not capable of doing that. It's just a difference in character and outlook about life.

Since: Mar 13

Pittsburgh, PA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#12
Apr 14, 2013
 

Judged:

5

4

1

Just to address 2 of your points. The unclutered look is rare in stores to increase sales. The stores want to slow you down in the hopes you buy something..

Employee morale is very poor, seeing many of your co workers fired and replaced with teenagers to save a buck is not goo for morale, neither is being overworked, drop so much support staff and still expect the remaining employees to get the job done doesnt help morale either.

forcing libbys that arent reliable was another blow to morale.

Since: Mar 13

Pittsburgh, PA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#13
Apr 14, 2013
 

Judged:

2

It has been interesting to note that although those people who write on these boards complaining and hating anything and everything that was connected to jcp, especially the CEO, most customers in the store since the Home remodel had absolutely no clue that anything was going on at jcp. They would say things like "Oh, are you guys remodeling?". I hear that all the time. A few would say they heard we had a new CEO but not know much of the drama behind all that.

WELL THEY SPOKE WITH THEIR WALLETS! Ultimately rons changes caused penneys sales to collapse......
Anony mouse

Lynn, MA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#14
Apr 14, 2013
 

Judged:

2

2

1

Well, guess what?? People have been speaking with their wallets again! MY store was jam-packed this weekend! AND for once, our manager put all available hands on deck, for FULL (gasp) 8 hour shifts! Must've been a company directive to quit w/ the RJ penny-pinching (pun intended) crap!

I have to say that the pavlovian response to the coupons, coupled with a loss leader like $1 flip-flops worked. At this point, I'm willing to deal with this crap IF it will build capitol back up & help save the company. Hey, if people are so stupid as to believe that they're getting a better deal with coupons, so be it. I JUST HOPE THAT JCP DOESN'T GO 'COUPON CRAZY,' LIKE IT USED TO BE.

As far as libbys, when they were working, they were a great COMPLIMENT to the cash registers. CUSTOMERS STILL LIKE TO CONGREGATE AT CASH WRAPS, once again, people are like sheep--they seem to WANT to stand in line; AND LINES THERE WERE! It may simply be the way my store is wired, but when all the Libbys & registers are going full-blast, the entire system simply bogs down.

Personally. I'm not convinced that Mr. Ullman is clever enough to save the company. If his solution will be to flood the market with coupons, that is not very creative. I'm reading that he his bringing in other talent to help advise him. I HOPE he will realize that part of moRons vision such as the shop concept/new brands was good & keep it. Only time will tell.

Since: Mar 13

Oakley

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#15
Apr 15, 2013
 

Judged:

1

Anony mouse, glad to hear that your store was busy :). Good to see a happier post.Lets hope that the registers keep ringing up lots of purchases for Penneys workers.
Anony mouse

Lynn, MA

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#16
Apr 15, 2013
 
Thank you, UKlass! I just hope that JCP can get back on an even keel. In this rotten economy, we don't need any further business closures. Most of us full timers left @ my store have 5+ years, benefits, etc and it would be a damn shame if all this went out the window due to poor decisions from the executive office.
Jenney

Rochelle, IL

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#17
Apr 15, 2013
 

Judged:

3

1

I have to argue with CDC that the hand held check out device is a step ahead. Unfortunately, this device continually freezes up and, very often, the transactions don't go through.
For the customer, who has already been standing in line, and has now reached the check out terminal, it doesn't make sense to inform the customer that their purchase is going to be rung on the hand held device, which is what associates are being told that they must do.

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

|
Report Abuse
|
Judge it!
|
#18
Apr 16, 2013
 

Judged:

3

2

1

Jenney: I don't think see the reason to be using the Libby (hand held device) when a register is open like you describe. I saw that happening a lot. The team members would be standing at the registers with lines and they would ring up the customer with the Libby. Then the rest of the team members would be out on the floor straightening and putting away clothes. Those team members would not even have a Libby on them. The scene should have the registers going and the other team members out on the floor should be ringing up customers out there to prevent customers from having to wait in line in the first place.

As an employee, I KNEW as a customer to go to a team member to be rung up instead of waiting in line. I knew what the team members look like and I knew the drill. However, even I could not find a team member to ring me up with a Libby without waiting in line. Too many employees just did not understand the purpose and the way it could be a step ahead in offering customer service.

I think the reason employees were told to use the Libby even if standing at the register is to force them to get used to using them. I had training on one, but it was the everyday use and getting comfortable with it that allowed me to finally use it naturally. I find I am much more "out there" helping customers very far away from the register because I can ring up the sales quickly and with ease without having to walk back to the register.

I have to agree with CDC in it being a step ahead when it is used the way it was intended. Now that the stores seem to be going back to the way it used to be in to many ways, who knows what will happen with the Libby. I haven't had problems with freezing up and transactions not going through in recent weeks now that I know better how to use it. It was often my own errors that were causing the problems. Compared to the early months of use, it has vastly improved in how they work.

Tell me when this thread is updated: (Registration is not required)

Add to my Tracker Send me an email

Showing posts 1 - 18 of18
Type in your comments below
Name
(appears on your post)
Comments
Characters left: 4000
Type the numbers you see in the image on the right:

Please note by clicking on "Post Comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Other Recent JC Penney Discussions

Search the JC Penney Forum:
Topic Updated Last By Comments
auto termination Sun Weezer McCallister 4
Management Jul 18 laura 17
Where did everyone go? Jul 12 Regis in Erie 9
required credit apps Jul 11 Untitled 83
JCPenney has Secretly “Dumped” the Golden Rule Jul 2 Weezer MC Callister 10
J.C. Penney's Story Continues With A New Credit... Jul 1 Count Your Penneys 2
This J.C. Penney Worker Was Fired For Telling T... Jun '14 JCPTM 11
•••
•••