10. Ron Johnson, chief executive officer, J.C. Penney Co. Inc.
The choice of WWD’s editors as Newsmaker of the Year, Ron Johnson was a natural nominee, given the focus on his plans for transforming J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and its future positioning on the retail map. He brought out a slew of retail catch phrases toward achieving his goal: genius bar, shops-in-shop, a store viewed as a house and aisles thought of as streets. The very idea of turning the department store model upside down is revolutionary, evolutionary and controversial, and the whole market is watching. Forty new shops in March are on the way, and there’s likely more growing pains ahead that will keep Johnson and Penney’s in the news for some time.