This is something I have a hard time understanding from sports to corporations: what the hell makes the next entity think they will fare better when they hire someone who failed miserably at their last job at the helm, and why pay them a crap ton for the privilege of screwing things up? Completely apart from seeing the pattern with sports managers, I saw it with a particular CEO and was baffled and horrified. And everyone around him was like mesmerized. He was useless. And drove the company into the ground. Then went on to do it again somewhere else.
JC Penny CEO? As far as sports or corporations are concerned, there are certain attributes that some people possess and some don't. These attributes may be deemed necessary in order to get things back on the right track. A Baseball manager who is good at developing young talent however was fired from his previous job because he couldn't handle the egos of the stars. A GM who is good at building a farm system however can't put together deals at the trade deadline or makes horrible contracts for veterans. Some people know how to brand, they know how to change the face of the brand, and they know how to do this in a beneficial and profitable way. These people are hired when they are not needed at previous jobs. It's the specific attributes individuals possess that makes them fail somewhere but succeed elsewhere.
Edit: The issue lies more in the circumstances when the problem is wrongly diagnosed, the incorrect person is hired who failed previously, thinking they'd be a good fit, however they misjudged terribly. This is what happened with JC Penny. Totally ruined that company.