Ron Johnson Leads Investment in Nasty Gal

by MR Magazine Staff

RonJohnson-150x150Ron Johnson, the former Apple retail executive and ex-CEO of JCPenney, has invested in the online retailer Nasty Gal.

Johnson, who has joined Nasty Gal’s board, is reportedly leading a group of Series C investors that have raised $16 million. A previous investor, Index Ventures, had raised $40 million.

“Over the past 18 months Ron has become a valued mentor and friend,” said founder Sophia Amoruso. “I can’t imagine anyone more qualified to support our growth in this next phase. This move will allow him to get significantly involved with Nasty Gal to help us succeed in our next phase of growth.”

Sophia Amoruso and Sheree Waterson
Sophia Amoruso and Sheree Waterson

L.A.-based Nasty Gal, which makes trendy apparel for young women, was founded by Amoruso in 2006. The company grew fast, and Amoruso, 30, published a memoir/business book last May called #GIRLBOSS. But Nasty Gal laid off 27 people — 10% of its staff — in September on sluggish sales.

The retailer opened its first brick-and-mortar store in November and Amoruso announced in January that she had named her chief product officer, Sheree Waterson, as the new CEO and shifted her own role to executive chairman, overseeing creative and brand marketing.

Johnson was an executive at Target Corp. for 15 years before joining Apple, where he was credited with the computer giant’s retail success. He was named CEO of JCPenney in June 2011 and fired after a disastrous two years. In October last year, he made headlines for raising $25 million for an e-commerce startup called Enjoy. Johnson is listed as Enjoy’s CEO, but the company has yet to officially launch.