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J.C. Penney’s Ron Johnson Sees Pay Fall to $1.9M

Stock awards vaulted the ceo’s pay to more than $50 million in 2011.

Ron Johnson was paid $1.9 million to be chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. last year — a sharp drop-off from the $53.3 million recorded in 2011 when he received hefty stock awards to take the job.

This story first appeared in the April 3, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Johnson, who is struggling to reinvent the department store as a group of specialty concepts, received a salary of $1.5 million and other compensation of $388,587, the vast majority of which came in the form of personal use of corporate aircraft.

Penney’s gave Johnson 1.7 million restricted stock units when he took the top job in November 2011. Those stock awards made Johnson the most highly compensated executive in the U.S. fashion industry in 2011, according to WWD’s tally. But the value of that stock award was recorded as of the grant date and might not ultimately be realized. Penney’s stock has fallen 54.1 percent to $14.55 since Johnson took the helm.

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The ceo, who joined the chain from Apple, also invested $50 million of his own money into seven-and-a-half-year warrants tied to Penney’s stock at a strike price $29.92.

A number of Johnson’s top recruits also saw their pay last year pale in comparison with what they were given to join the company, although the hefty stock awards were not necessarily realized.

Michael Kramer, chief operating officer, saw his compensation fall to $1 million from $33.4 million and compensation for Daniel Walker, chief talent officer, fell to $731,385 from $20.2 million.

Michael Francis, former president who left the firm June 18, earned $4.7 million from Penney’s last year, including $3.6 million in severance payment. In 2011, his compensation was valued at $44.7 million.