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 $US16 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.
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 $US16 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.”
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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