Rumors flew today that Ron Johnson, JC Penney’s controversial CEO, is set to step down from his position, spurring a flurry of trading on Wall Street. The company promptly released a statement which denied all resignation rumors, but there’s plenty of evidence that Johnson’s position is on thin ice.
Johnson’s uphill struggle to reinvent the floundering JC Penney–he briefly (and unpopularly) eliminated discounts and coupons; next, he began a radical re-design of the shop floors–has earned him no shortage of criticism. Most recently, Steven Roth, a member of the JC Penney Board of Directors and owner Vornado Realty Trust, which is a major Penney’s backer, expressed a loss of confidence in Johnson’s leadership.
True or otherwise, today’s rumors of Johnson’s impending exit led to a 5% share increase in JC Penney’s stock.