It is been no secret that as a company, Apple have been scouring the market for a new man to head up their retail operations since Ron Johnson left through the exit door to become the CEO of J.C.Penney. Considering that Johnson is credited in part with bringing huge success to Apple Retail Stores, and pioneering the Genius Bar concept, it was always going to be a difficult journey attempting to find a suitable and worthy replacement.
After nearly three months of searching, a press release from the Cupertino company indicates that the journey is over, and they have indeed got their man.
CUPERTINO, California—January 30, 2012—Apple® today announced that John Browett will join the company as senior vice president of Retail, reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Browett comes to Apple from European technology retailer Dixons Retail, where he has been CEO since 2007. Beginning in April, he will be responsible for Apple’s retail strategy and the continued expansion of Apple retail stores around the world.
Although Browett may not be a household name around the world, many British and European residents may have heard of him from his time with supermarket giant Tesco, and up until the Apple acquisition as Chief Executive Officer of electronics retail chain Dixons. His official first day in the office won’t be until April of this year, and until that time it looks as though Peter Oppenheimer will continue to run all day to day Apple retail operations around the globe.
The change in job role is sure to be a culture shock to Browett, considering he is leaving a company which is on the brink of uncertainty and struggling in the economic climate to join one of the most successful retail operations in history. He will be directly accountable to Apple CEO Tim Cook, with one of his main tasks being to oversee the expansion of the firm’s current 361 retail stores.
I have no doubt that Mr. Browetts education and professional experience qualify him for this role at Apple, but considering CEO Tim Cook makes direct reference to the fact that Apple Stores are "all about customer service" I can’t help but worry. John Browett may be an advocate for impeccable customer service, but anyone who has visited a Dixons or Currys store in the United Kingdom or Europe will be able to testify that the customer service philosophy certainly does not filter down to shop floor level.
With his role officially beginning in April 2012, we will have to wait and see how his appointment affects the way Apple retail stores are run, but an old saying comes to mind – "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it", which I hope is certainly the view he takes.
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