5. JCPenney CEO Mike Ullman
Sometimes, being a good CEO simply means cleaning up other people’s messes.
In case you forgot, former Apple (AAPL) executive Ron Johnson tried to revive JCPenney (JCP) by ditching coupons — but failed miserably. As a result, Johnson was ousted in April and replaced by a familiar JCPenney CEO: Mike Ullman … the man he took the top job in 2011.
It’s hardly been smooth sailing for JCP under Ullman — especially when it came to the mixed signals surrounding the secondary offering of JCP stock in September — but he’s done a commendable job considering just how ugly things had gotten. In fact, JCP stock has posted a pretty solid comeback since late October.
There are still headwinds to face, and the odds are against Mike Ullman and JCP stock rising from the ashes in 2014. But Ullman has given a heroic effort as JCPenney CEO so far.