You can learn a couple important things from J.C. Penney’s Michael Francis.
Francis, of course, was President of J.C. Penney until he abruptly departed earlier this week. He was at the company for about eight months.
Learning number 1: It is all about the results.
J.C. Penney is in the middle of a major strategy shift. Initial results are terrible; sales are falling sharply, competitors are on the attack and the stock is off 50%. It is difficult to keep your job with results like this.
CEO Ron Johnson won’t last long, either, if things don’t improve soon.
Learning number 2: Work out the severance plan in advance.
Francis will apparently walk away with well over $10 million for his eight months of work. This is a rather remarkable achievement. Bravo.
He worked out the compensation deal before joining the company; he came in with a huge signing bonus and could keep most of the money if things didn’t work out after a few months. They didn’t and he leaves with a ton of cash.
Francis will be fine. I’m not sure about J.C. Penney.