Ex-CEO Ron Johnson earned a salary 1,795 times that of the average J.C. Penney worker, much more than the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio for the S&P 500, which is 204. With hindsight, Johnson wasn't worth anything like that much, but that likely won't stop JCP paying top dollar for his successor. "Any idea that saves JC Penney ... would actually have a financial impact worth much more than 1,795 average workers' salaries. If only that idea existed," notes Derek Thompson.

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