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Can J.C. Penney’s Ullman pull a Steve Jobs?

Can J.C. Penney’s Ullman pull a Steve Jobs?

Can J.C. Penney’s Ullman pull a Steve Jobs?

Quentin Fottrell from the Wall Street Journal writes, “J.C. Penney tried to steal some of Apple’s magic when it poached Apple retail guru Ron Johnson to be its CEO. And the company seems to be trying again with Myron “Mike” Ullman, the retailer’s once and future CEO. Apple’s current dominance, after all, didn’t begin until Steve Jobs returned to the fold for a second tenure as the company’s leader. So can Ullman, who ran J.C. Penney  from 2004 to 2011, pull a Jobs?”

Some returning CEOs carry on the policies of their successors, but investors often have more confidence in the original leader to execute those plans. Howard Schultz returned to Starbucks Corp.  in 2008 after serving for CEO from 1987 to 2000, and continued an aggressive expansion program that began in his absence. However, he also vowed to close underperforming locations and cut down on the bureaucracy, expanded into tea and premium juices and opened a flagship store in New Delhi. The shares have risen from $20 when Schultz returned to around $58 today. “Clear communication, shared values and unwavering direction made it work,” says Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant and director of professional opportunities at DePauw University