What a difference a CEO makes!
Ron Johnson, former CEO of JC Penney who initiated the partnership with MSLO, was counting on Martha to be the centerpiece of JC Penney’s reimagined housewares department. As the retailer struggled under his leadership, he was replaced by the current CEO, Mike Ullman. Unfortunately, Ullman either doesn’t share Johnson’s faith in the Martha brand, or he thinks that the national retailer should be focused elsewhere–or both. The expensive lawsuit that JC Penney’s has been fighting with Macys in a NYC courtroom is almost certainly influencing his decision, as well
So, he has decided to scale back significantly JC Penney’s partnership with Martha. Here’s what’s changing:
– JC Penney’s will discontinue selling products in those categories that prompted the lawsuit from Macys.
– JC Penney’s will sell back its share ($37 million worth!) of MSLO stock purchased as part of the partnership.
– JC Penney’s will no longer have representation on the MSLO Board of Directors
Not great news for Martha and MSLO, where a great portion of revenue is generated by licensing the “Martha Stewart” name. Martha was hopeful that the products offered at JC Penney’s would reach audiences currently unserved by the products sold at Macy’s.
Still, the JC Penney’s partnership will continue, though CEO Ullman seems less devoted to Martha and her products. And the partnership with Macy’s will continue, though Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren became furious with Martha when she told him of her new relationship with JC Penney’s. Of course, neither CEO would be interested in continuing his partnership with Martha if she and her products were not so popular with the public.