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Former Apple retail chief Johnson given the boot as JC Penney CEO

Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson has been ousted as CEO of JC Penney after assuming the role in NovEMBER 2011.

Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III, who served as JC Penney chairman and CEO for seven years before Johnson took over, will return to the retailer as CEO and a member of the board of directors.

JC Penney did not elaborate on Johnson's departure, except to say that he is "stepping down and leaving the company."

In an SEC filing, the company said "Mr. Johnson's departure is not the result of any disagreement with the company or the Board of Directors on any matter relating to the company's operations, policies or practices."

"On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank Ron Johnson for his contributions while at JC Penney and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Thomas Engibous, chairman of the company's Board of Directors, said in a statement.

Johnson previously served as Apple's vice president of retail operations for 11 years, and is credited with the creation of the Genius Bar. He announced his resignation in June 2011, and officially departed several months later.

"I've always dreamed of leading a major retail company as CEO, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help JC Penney re-imagine what I believe to be the single greatest opportunity in American retailing today, the Department Store," Johnson said at the time. "I have tremendous confidence in JC Penney's future and look forward to working with Mike Ullman, the executive board, and the company's 150,000 associates to transform the way America shops."

Unfortunately, Johnson did not have as big an impact on JC Penney as he did on Apple.

Johnson's successor at Apple, meanwhile, also had a rough road. Apple tapped John Browett to lead the company's retail strategy in January 2012, and he took the reins in April. Browett was Tim Cook's first external executive hire since Cook became the CEO of Apple, but by October 2012, he was out.

"Apple's Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers," Apple said at the time.

Browett made headlines last year after a staffing blunder led to some Apple Store employees' hours being cut and prompted fears of layoffs. Browett reportedly instructed leadership teams to tell employees that that the company "messed up."

The retail chief position is still open at Apple.