Apple PR

What's wrong with this picture?

July 17, 2011: 7:04 PM ET

Hint: See the head shot, center row left, in the current "Apple Leadership" page

Source: Apple press info

Jean-Louis Gassée, who worked for Apple from 1981 to 1990 and once held Steve Jobs' job as head of Mac development, was planning to use the Apple Store's 10th anniversary last May as the theme for one of his always insightful Monday Note columns. But when the day came and went without an Apple-sized splash, he sensed something was wrong and held off.

What was wrong, Gassée now suggests, was the news that broke in the Wall Street Journal one month later: Ron Johnson, Apple's (AAPL) senior vice president, retail, was leaving to become CEO of J.C. Penney (JCP).

Why would the man who created the 325-store empire that was, according to a USA Today report last week, single-handedly responsible for 20% of U.S. retail growth in the first quarter of 2011, leave Apple?

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