New Genius Hired to Run Apple Store
By George Anderson
February 1, 2012
Speculation, almost from the moment Ron Johnson said he was leaving Apple to become CEO of J.C. Penney, was that the company would go outside the U.S. to hire its new head of retail operations. The conventional wisdom was that Apple would find its greatest opportunities for future growth outside of North America and would need an executive with a more global perspective to help it achieve its goals.
Now comes word that Apple has hired John Browett, CEO of Dixons Retail Plc, the largest consumer electronics retailer in the U.K. and a reseller of Apple products.
“Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a press release. “We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple.”
Mr. Browett has served as CEO of Dixons since 2007. His executive experience includes stints as the head of retail operations at Tesco and as a consultant with Boston Consulting Group.
“I agonized about the move because I really love it at Dixons,” Mr. Browett told The Independent. “It was just one of those stupendous things that come along and I think I would have kicked myself in a few years’ time if I hadn’t taken it. It is an amazing opportunity to work inside a great technology company and be part of that executive team.”
A number of reports questioned whether Dixons, where stores were likened to Best Buy, made Mr. Browett the right person for Apple and its minimalist, chic white boxes.
According to The Telegraph, those who know Mr. Browett well see him as a solid pick by Apple. As CEO of Dixons, he was said to have built a close relationship with Apple and made changes that included improving the shopping experience with steps such as adding touchscreens in stores to give customers access to product information.
Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets, according to a Financial Post report, gives Mr. Browett high marks for his work at Dixons including taking the steps necessary to help “Dixons fend off Best Buy’s U.K. assault.”
“He revamped Dixons’ stores and introduced a series of advertising featuring Darth Vader testing the knowledge of staff to change customer perceptions,” Mr. Abramsky is reported to have told clients.
John Browett Joins Apple as Senior Vice President of Retail – Apple
Apple Names Browett to Lead Retail Business Amid Global Push – Bloomberg News/San Francisco Chronicle
Opposites attract as Dixons’ Browett is selected by Apple – The Telegraph
Apple hires U.K. retail guru – Financial Post
A genius career move … the man who went from Dixons (in Hemel) to boss of Apple stores (in California) – The Independent