Gary Strauss, USA TODAY
It's back to the future for troubled retailer J.C.Penney, which announced late Monday that Ron Johnson had ended his troubled tenure as CEO and would be replaced on an interim basis by Mike Ullman, the retailer's former CEO.
Johnson was hired in late 2011 from Apple, where he led the company's highly successful retail store chain. But his plans to reinvigorate the chain stumbled early when he decided that the chain would abandon sales and coupons for an everyday low price strategy.
J.C. Penney shares, which had sunk 44% last year in Johnson's first full year and had slumped another 25% through last week, surged up to 9% in after hours trading before news that Ullman was coming back to the company. The stock was down 3% to $15.40.
In a company filing released last week, it was revealed that Johnson's pay package at the beleaguered company had plunged.
Johnson, who received a 2011 stock grant worth $52.7 million when he was hired to reinvigorate the retailer, received just $1.9 million in his first full year at the now-struggling company.
The company has been in a protracted legal fight withrival Macy's and its CEO Terry Lundgren over selling goods under fashion maven Martha Stewart's brand.
J.C.Penney had said its turnaround strategy is a multiyear process.
"The company underwent tremendous change as we began shifting our business model from a promotional department store to a specialty department store," Penney says in its proxy. "Fiscal 2012 was tougher than expected."