8. Johnson's Bad Dream Team -- (Originally published June 22, 2012)
For a guy who is supposed to be the Michael Jordan of retail, J.C. Penney (JCP) CEO Ron Johnson sure is having a tough time keeping his "dream team" together.
Johnson bid goodbye to Michael Francis, the retailer's president, on Tuesday, sending shares of the stumbling chain down 9%. Johnson lured Francis and chief operating officer Michael Kramer to Penney's last year from Target (TGT) and Apple (AAPL) respectively in order to create what Johnson once called his retail "dream team.""We've all been lucky and have only had winning experiences," said Johnson in January about the all-star squad he assembled in what ironically is the 20th anniversary of the formation of the original "Dream Team" which won basketball gold in the 1992 Olympic games. One curious thing about this new dream team though. We don't remember the losses piling up for the American hoopsters in Barcelona like they currently are for this Penney's crew. Michael Jordan and company won by an average of 44 points per game en route to world domination. The Penney's players, however, suffered a worse-than-expected 18.9% drop in same-store sales last quarter. That's in addition to the loss of customers, stores, market capitalization and confidence at the 110-year old company. Oh yeah, we also don't remember Michael Jordan throwing fellow Dream Teamer Charles Barkley under the bus for his own mistakes. And that's what Johnson appears to be doing to Francis as J.C. Penney's Olympic-sized flame-out continues.
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