Ron Johnson's short tenure as J.C. Penney's (JCP) CEO will go down as one of the biggest flameouts in corporate America. The former Apple executive was hailed as a big thinker when he was hired by the ailing department store chain, but his radical moves ended up alienating shoppers, sent sales plunging, and left the company in even worse shape.
He lasted 17 months.
But Johnson isn't the only executive to be pushed out after failing to live up to big expectations. Here's a look at some of the other major ousters in recent times.
Conaway had won many fans on Wall Street as the No. 2 executive at CVS (CVS), where he helped build the drugstore chain into an industry powerhouse. When he was hired by Kmart (SHLD) in 2000, Conaway inherited a company with a long list of entrenched problems, including outdated technology and drab stores.
Analysts say Conaway made strategic mistakes, such as trying to compete with Walmart on price and focusing on exceedingly cheap groceries rather than on its exclusive Martha Stewart brand. In early 2002, Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Conaway resigned soon after.
Conaway also faced accusations that he misled investors about Kmart's financial problems before the bankruptcy filing.
The bankruptcy led to Kmart coming under the control of Edward Lampert, a billionaire investor. Lampert later engineered the acquisition of Sears, Roebuck & Co., combining the companies into Sears Holding Corp.
Grocery store operator Supervalu brought in Herkert in 2009 with the hopes that the high-ranking former Walmart executive could spark a turnaround for its struggling fortunes. Supervalu (SVU), which was one of the country's biggest grocery store operators at the time, was struggling with growing competition at big-box retailers, drugstores and dollar stores.
Under his tenure, Herkert tried positioning Supervalu as a neighborhood store and emphasized low prices. But sales and profitability kept sliding and last summer, the company suspended its dividend and announced plans to potentially put itself up for sale. A few weeks later, Herkert was out.
In January, the company announced that it was selling five of its major chains and focusing on its Save-A-Lot discount stores and smaller regional chains.