Ron Johnson

MILAN Ermenegildo Zegna Holditalia SpA is adding a retail veteran and Silicon Valley figure to its board of directors: Ron Johnson, who famously created and led the Apple Retail stores from 2000 to 2012, reporting directly to Steve Jobs. During that time, 400 stores were opened in 13 countries, and Johnson also served as a member of Apple’s executive team.

Johnson is chief executive officer of Enjoy, which he founded in 2014 and which has invented the Mobile Retail Store. Based in Menlo Park, Calif., Enjoy operates mobile stores for companies such as AT&T in the U.S. and EE in the U.K. and employs approximate 2,000 people. Previously, Johnson served as the ceo of J.C. Penney until 2013, and, before that, as a general merchandise manager at Target Corp., during a time in which Target’s stock price increased twelve-fold.

“I am certain that the exceptional experience and creativity of Ron, in the traditional and online retail sector, will help us overcome the technological and cultural challenges in the future and make our brand ever stronger,” said Zegna ceo Gildo Zegna.

Johnson is a Trustee of Stanford University and has served for nine years as deputy chair of Stanford Health Care and is co-chair in the campaign to raise funds for the construction of the new Stanford Hospital. He is a member of several boards of directors of technological companies in the Bay Area of San Francisco and is a partner and director of the Stamos Capital Partners investment fund.

Johnson joins the following members of the board: honorary chairman Angelo Zegna and chairman Paolo Zegna and directors Domenico De Sole; Michele Norsa; Henry Peter; Anna Zegna Ferraris, and Renata Zegna Schneider.

In 2016, Gildo Zegna set in motion changes in the Italian men’s wear company’s organization and structure, applying a new model and shifting the customer to the center of its strategy.

This coincided with the return of Alessandro Sartori to the firm, as Zegna worked behind the scenes creating new key management roles and developing a new retail, marketing and digital strategy. One new key figure part of this project was his son Edoardo Zegna, who was appointed head of content and innovation and omnichannel at the group in 2014.

As reported, the group saw an uptick in net profits last year, as it strengthens its omnichannel approach and continues to build its main market, China, while investing in other key regions, including the U.S. and Southeast Asia. In April, it launched an online store on Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion as it officially inaugurated its new flagship in New York.

In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, net profits rose 3.6 percent to 34 million euros, on revenues that declined 2 percent to 1.16 billion euros. At constant exchange rates, sales inched up 0.4 percent.