Former Apple retail genius and ousted JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson is coming back in a big way


ron johnson jcpenney


Ron Johnson just invested $16 million in Nasty Gal

Ron Johnson - Apple's former retail genius who fell from grace thanks to a short-lived, tumultuous stint as the CEO of JCPenny - just lead a $16 million investment in the e-commerce startup Nasty Gal to help it expand its brick-and-mortar presence, Re/code reports.


He will also be joining the company's board of directors.

Since JCPenney ousted Johnson in 2013, he's been working on a retail startup called Enjoy, but had been in touch with Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso for the last year.

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When Nasty Gal opened its first physical store in Los Angeles in March 2014, Johnson flew out to give Amoruso advice. Nasty Gal plans to use the $16 million Series C - and Johnson's expertise as a board member - to open at least one more brick-nand-mortar location.

"We don't have an aggressive rollout planned," Amoruso told Re/code's Jason Del Rey. "We want to get another one open, learn a lot and then hopefully destroy everyone."


Amoruso stepped down as CEO of Nasty Gal in January, after a year of slowing revenue growth and lay-offs.

Johnson took over at JCPenney for 16 months and announced an aggressive turnaround plan, which included doing away with the retailer's popular coupon program and creating shop-in-shops that showcased certain vendors.

That strategy sent sales crashing 32%.

Bill Ackman, the hedge fund manager and investor who recruited Johnson, called his tenure a "disaster."

"One of the big mistakes was perhaps too much change too quickly without adequate testing on what the impact would be," Ackman said at a Reuters conference in 2013.


Ashley Lutz contributed to this story.

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