Apple Inc head of retail operations Ron Johnson will become president of department store operator J.C. Penney Co Inc and eventually become chief executive officer, according to a CNBC report, quoting a Wall Street Journal story.

Johnson joined Apple in January 2000 and has overseen the opening of 300 stores.

A spokeswoman for Penney did not immediately return an email seeking comment on the report.

Penney shares rose 7.8 percent to $32.46 in morning trading.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Dave Zimmerman)