Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman sent a memo to his colleagues on the board of JC Penney (and, weirdly, to the media) announcing that he would be looking to replace CEO Mike Ullman. You will recall that Ackman bought a significant share of the company, led in the firing of then-CEO Ullman, and replaced him with Apple retail star Ron Johnson. Johnson then proceeded to effectively dismantle the company. Once Johnson was finally fired, Ullman was rehired.
Tom Engibous, Penny’s chairman and
also former CEO of Texas Instruments, does not sound happy about Ackman’s latest antic:
The Board of Directors strongly disagrees with Mr. Ackman and is extremely disappointed that his letter was released to the media at the same time that it was sent to the Board. Mr. Ackman has been integrally involved in the Board’s activities since he joined two years ago. This includes leading a campaign to appoint the Company’s previous CEO, under whose leadership performance deteriorated precipitously. His latest actions are disruptive and counterproductive at an important stage in the Company’s recovery.”
Ackman has had some successes as a hedge fund manager. He has, however, never run a company.