Penney CEO emails suggest aim at breaking deal
NEW YORK: J.C. Penney’s CEO was in the hot seat again on Friday in New York State Supreme Court after facing investors earlier this week over a dismal quarterly earnings performance that marked one year of snowballing losses and sharp sales declines since he came on board. This time, Ron Johnson was being grilled for four hours by lawyers from rival Macy’s Inc. who presented emails that he wrote that they believe illustrate how he plotted to push home diva Martha Stewart to breach an exclusive deal with his rival. They contend he wanted Macy’s backed into a corner so Penney would be the sole department store distributor of some of Stewart’s goods. But in cross examination by Penney’s attorneys, Johnson, rejected their claims and painted a far less devious portrait of himself. He said he just wanted to get a piece of the action while helping the struggling Martha Stewart business grow. And he says that the expanded partnership could be good for everyone, including Macy’s.