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Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 01:34 pm PT (04:34 pm ET)

Ron Johnson assembling former Apple retail alumni at JC Penney

After retiring as Apple's senior vice president of retail operations, Ron Johnson is assembling a team of former Apple executives to reinvent US retailer JC Penney, where he now serves as a chief executive.

Johnson, who arrived at Apple from Target in January 2000, is credited with leading the construction of the Mac maker's blockbuster global retail chain, including its innovative features such as Genius Bars, theaters and Easy Pay checkout.

Now, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Johnson is assembling a team that includes former Apple executive Daniel Walker, who served as a "chief talent officer" from 2000 to 2005, and Michael Kramer, who worked as Apple Retail's chief financial officer over the same five year period.

Walker initially recruited Johnson to work at Apple, while Kramer worked with Johnson at Target before both joined Apple ten years ago. Johnson's new team hopes to do at JC Penney something similar to what they accomplished at Apple: building a profitable retail operation.

At JC Penney, Johnson faces new challenges. Unlike Apple, which started its retail operations from scratch a decade ago and organically grew global, JC Penney is already operating over 1,100 stores across the US and Puerto Rico, and has been in business since 1902.