Michael Francis helped make Target a roaring success. So, JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson offered him a $12 million signing bonus to jump ships. Francis took the bait.
Bad decision …except for the $12 million … which Francis gets before the tax rates jump on Jan. 1.
Now, Francis taking the fall for Johnson’s “no sales” strategy’s failure to ignite consumer interest.
Johnson’s still claiming that his idea is fine but it wasn’t marketed right. That there was a failure to communicate.
After all, a sleek logo and aggressive “retail list price maintenance” worked at Apple … so why shouldn’t it work at a commodity rag place like JCP?
Excerpted from BrandChannel:
J. C. Penney ousted its JC Penney brand president, Michael Francis.
Francis was hired last October “at great expense” — a whopping $12 million signing bonus — from Target.
He is seen as taking the fall for his boss, company CEO Ron Johnson, the former Apple top retailer who oversaw JCP’s new brand strategy in January.
Johnson who championed the idea of killing coupons and sales in favor of “fair and square pricing” (a reference to its logo), so-called “month long value” and “everyday low” pricing.
JCP recently scrapped that strategy and is re-embracing the dreaded s-word — “sale.”
CEO Johnson “will assume direct responsibility and oversight of the company’s marketing and merchandising functions.”
Ken’s Take: If I were JCP, I would have fired the Apple guy and kept the target guy … eventually, they’ll fire the CEO, too … and probably promote their VP Finance to interim CEO … as soon as it becomes evident that the critical Christmas season is a bust
* * * * *
In case you missed it, I was on NPR a couple of weeks ago commenting on the JCP strategy.