The Apple Retail story it turning in to quite a drama. In the latest twist, Ron Johnson, ex head of Apple retail, has been ousted from JC Penney where he was CEO.

The news has left many speculating that Johnson could return to Apple, which has no leader in its retail department since Johnson's replacement John Browett was reportedly fired last year.

It appears that Johnson has met a similar fate at JC Penney to his Apple replacement. According to reports he was fired because JC Penney has seen a 27% drop in revenue in the past year. The retailer has also seen its lowest sales in decades, amidst the worst recession of the past 80 years, according to Apple Insider's report.

A report in The New York Times last week reported that Johnson had seen a 97 percent pay cut for failing to bring success to the retailer and overseeing $4 billion in lost sales. That left him with a salary of $1.9 million (according to filings he should have seen $3,375,000 in compensation). Some of his changes included instituting a ban on discounts, according to The Verge.

Former JC Penney CEO Mike Ullman III has been selected to replace Johnson, according to a JC Penney press release. According to a CNBC report, Ullman will take a salary of $1 million (notably less that that of Johnson).

In the press release JC Penney chairman Thomas Engibous said: "We would like to thank Ron Johnson for his contributions while at JCPenney and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Johnson left Apple in November 2011, taking with him other members of Apple's retail team, notes Apple Insider.

Who's running Apple Retail? 

Browett joined Apple in April 2012, previously he was CEO of Dixons. However he made a number of mistakes that made him unpopular at Apple including revising the company's scheduling practices, meaning already stressed employees would need to work more hours, and then mistakenly laying off recently hired retail staff.

Browett left last November and now heads up Monsoon/Accessorise back in the UK.

In the meantime Apple CEO Tim Cook has been managing Apple retail along with vice president of finance Jim Bean.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on 12 February, Cook said that the companies retail stores are "the face of Apple" and that he will continue to invest in them. SEE: Is Apple to blame for the High Street's struggles?

"There's no better place to discover, explore, and learn about our products than in retail," he said. "Our team members there are the most amazing, awesome, incredible people on earth. It's the best retail experience. It's a retail experience where you walk in and you realise the store is not here for the purpose of selling, it's here for the purpose of serving."

"And so the Genius Bar helps you not only with an issue, but it helps you get more out of your Apple products over the life of them," Cook continued. "The store acts as a gathering place. It's a place that has an important role in the community. And so if you look at an agenda on an Apple Store for any given day, you might find that there is a youth program going on where kids from a local elementary school are coming in the store as part of their field trip. You might find that there's a local musician that's entertaining people in that store on that night. It's incredibly exciting what these stores do."

Prior to joining Apple in 2000, Johnson served in a variety of positions at Target, ending as the retail chain's vice president of merchandising for Target stores. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard and a bachelor's degree in Economics from Stanford.

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