With J.C. Penney's announcement that Ron Johnson will become their next CEO, many analysts have been wondering who will fill the large void left at Apple.
Johnson is regarded by many as being the architect behind the success of the Apple store, which launched in May of 2001. The genius bar, a service loved by so many customers, was also one of Johnson's ideas and was originally rejected by Steve Jobs himself. Jobs later relented and the rest is history.
With so many game changing ideas, it's no wonder that J.C Penney's stock soared 17% after the announcement.
Apple also later released a statement saying that they were actively looking for a replacement. Where they find Johnson's replacement is where the speculation begins.
However, the answer to that question may be quite obvious: Johnson's replacement may be someone from within Apple and there is plenty of information and precedent to back that up.
At a time when Apple is firing on all cylinders, it is also very vulnerable with Steve Jobs on medical leave and speculation swirling about his possible replacement. It would be in Apple's best interest to have stability and consistency with Johnson's vision. Apple stores' ability to currently bring in more revenue per square foot than Tiffany's during a recession is not lost in the need for consistency.
It wouldn't be the first time either that Apple has found the right person for a job within its own walls.
Jonathan Ive, seen by many as one of the greatest industrial designers of our time, was promoted after being discovered by Steve Jobs working in Apple's design department. It is very likely that after spending 11 years at Apple, some of the people working under Johnson picked up a thing or two. Not to mention that the best leaders always tend to surround themselves with the best qualified people to delegate to.
To support the idea that Johnson's successor will come from within Apple, any person working under Johnson would most likely be able to hit the ground running from day one. They have a detailed understanding of how the Apple Store operates and probably know of, if any plans, what Johnson may have had for the future.
In the end, the loss of Johnson clearly made J.C. Penney the winner for the day, but Apple probably doesn't have much to worry about. While Apple has not made any announcements, the Apple Store is probably already in capable hands.