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Thursday, April 26, 2012, 02:43 pm PT (05:43 pm ET)

Apple exec leaves for JC Penney

It was announced on Thursday that an Apple executive will follow former retail guru Ron Johnson to jcpenney as the department store looks to stimulate sales with a fresh look and new branding.

Benjamin Fay, former senior director of retail real estate, design and development at Apple, will take on the similarly-named role of executive vice president, real estate, store design and development at jcpenney, according to a company statement.

Fay will answer to former Apple Store chief and current J.C. Penney Company, Inc. CEO Ron Johnson and will oversee the retail strategy of the chain's more than 1,100 locations in the U.S. and Puereto Rico. The new hire will reportedly help to create an entirely new "interface for retail."

"Ben is an incredibly creative professional with extraordinary leadership skills. Having worked with him over the last 12 years, I am delighted to see Ben step into this new role at jcp," Johnson said. "His design influence has made the Apple stores highly regarded retail destinations around the world, and I am excited to have Ben place his own mark on jcp as we re-imagine the jcpenney store of the future."

Along with the general responsibilities of remodeling and maintenance of existing jcpenney locations, Fay will be in charge of the "Shops" initiative which is akin to a branded store-within-a-store. An example would be the Martha Stewart shops that are planned to roll out in jcpenney stores next year.

Prior to his tenure at Apple, Fay worked with architecture planning and consulting firm Gensler on the computer giant's worldwide chain of retail outlets.