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'Daunting' global search for new retail chief may prompt Apple to hire internally

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Though Apple has partnered with a global executive search firm to find a new head of its retail operations, the difficulty of the search may prompt the company to simply promote someone from within its ranks.

The latest details on Apple's search for a replacement for its former retail chief Ron Johnson were shared Monday by Bloomberg. The report revealed that Apple's search for a new head of retail are being led by Egon Zehnder International.

"The search is under way with lots of interest, and we are carefully selecting Ron's successor," Apple spokesman Steve Dowling reportedly said.

But Neil Stern, senior partner with retail consulting firm McMillanDoolittle LLP, told the publication that the search for a new head of retail could be so "daunting" that Apple CEO Tim Cook might instead hire someone who already works at the company.

Stern also suggested that if Apple does hire from outside the company, it would be more likely to select someone from a "lifestyle brand" rather than a technology retailer. He suggested candidates could come from Coach Inc. or Nike Inc.

Johnson officially left Apple on Nov. 1 and moved on to become chief executive of retailer J.C. Penney. He spent the last 11 years as senior vice president of retail at Apple, and before that he was a key merchandising executive at Target for 15 years.



Johnson announced his departure in June, at which point Apple publicly said the company was "actively recruiting" for a new retail chief. The company later took its search abroad in August in hopes of finding a replacement with international retail experience.

The international expansion of Apple's highly successful retail business might be the most crucial aspect for the company. Apple revealed in its quarterly earnings conference call in October that it plans to open 40 new retail stores in the current quarter, with about three-quarters of them outside the U.S.
post #2 of 28
Obviously, we don't know the details, but it's hard to understand how someone could find the job of being a retail chief for JC Penny more fulfilling than Apple.
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Obviously, we don't know the details, but it's hard to understand how someone could find the job of being a retail chief for JC Penny more fulfilling than Apple.

Yeah, I tend to agree with you. Some people just like the challenge, some people get burnt out doing the same thing for the same company and just need to move on. Who knows, but it does seem odd.
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Though Apple has partnered with a global executive search firm to find a new head of its retail operations, the difficulty of the search may prompt the company to simply promote someone from within its ranks.

The latest details on Apple's search for a replacement for its former retail chief Ron Johnson were shared Monday by Bloomberg. The report revealed that Apple's search for a new head of retail are being led by Egon Zehnder International.

"The search is under way with lots of interest, and we are carefully selecting Ron's successor," Apple spokesman Steve Dowling reportedly said.

But Neil Stern, senior partner with retail consulting firm McMillanDoolittle LLP, told the publication that the search for a new head of retail could be so "daunting" that Apple CEO Tim Cook might instead hire someone who already works at the company.

Stern also suggested that if Apple does hire from outside the company, it would be more likely to select someone from a "lifestyle brand" rather than a technology retailer. He suggested candidates could come from Coach Inc. or Nike Inc.

Johnson officially left Apple on Nov. 1 and moved on to become chief executive of retailer J.C. Penney. He spent the last 11 years as senior vice president of retail at Apple, and before that he was a key merchandising executive at Target for 15 years.



Johnson announced his departure in June, at which point Apple publicly said the company was "actively recruiting" for a new retail chief. The company later took its search abroad in August in hopes of finding a replacement with international retail experience.

The international expansion of Apple's highly successful retail business might be the most crucial aspect for the company. Apple revealed in its quarterly earnings conference call in October that it plans to open 40 new retail stores in the current quarter, with about three-quarters of them outside the U.S.

I wonder whether Apple asked Johnson for a few names he'd recommend to replace him? \
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Obviously, we don't know the details, but it's hard to understand how someone could find the job of being a retail chief for JC Penny more fulfilling than Apple.

Are you crazy? It's hard not to understand why Ron Johnson wouldn't want a chance at running his own ship. Ron is at an age where he realistically has about ten years of work left in him. This is the chance of a lifetime to run the show.

One does not not many opportunities like this in one's lifetime to be number one at a company.

Ron moved up through the ranks because of his ambition and his hope to be the guy that calls all the shots. If you're the pot washer, your next job isn't going to be executive chef. If you don't understand this, you probably have not met any ambitious people, specifically leaders. It's not for everyone (nor can it be), but clearly there are some who wish very hard to be the person whose decision is final.
post #6 of 28
Exactly. Ron would never be Apple CEO. He reached the top of his game at Apple. He could have retired there or he can spend the next decade at the top job of a company looking to transform itself. What an opportunity to leave his mark! If it doesn't work out at JC Penny, it's not like he needs the money. All senior Apple execs are filthy rich. It's a self fulfilment thing.
post #7 of 28
I'll gladly take the job for $1/year plus full health benefits and all the free Apple kit I want.
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post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

Are you crazy?

Probably, a little. In my mind running the 'ship' at a budget clothing retailer just doesn't *appear* to be as fulfilling as creating the blueprint for and leading the greatest retail chain in the world would. But again, I don't know the details.

Here's to the crazy ones.
post #9 of 28
STEVE CANO will and should replace Ron Johnson. They guy knows Apple retail. He started at the bottom of the food chain working at an Apple Store, to retail management, has worked on Apple international retail, to being Ron's top lieutenant. I think Apple should hire within the family and not go with an outsider.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Probably, a little. In my mind running the 'ship' at a budget clothing retailer just doesn't *appear* to be as fulfilling as creating the blueprint for and leading the greatest retail chain in the world would. But again, I don't know the details.

Here's to the crazy ones.

More money, better benefits, more control, more freedom, based in Texas instead of California, larger stores with more variety of product to deal with, more of a challenge, more room to grow the company's retail compared to Apple.

He's reportedly earned $400 million from his tenure at Apple so this position might have been a way to spend more time with his family while getting a great paycheck doing what he does. The possibilities are endless.
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post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

More money, better benefits, more control, more freedom, based in Texas instead of California, larger stores with more variety of product to deal with, more of a challenge, more room to grow the company's retail compared to Apple.

He's reportedly earned $400 million from his tenure at Apple so this position might have been a way to spend more time with his family while getting a great paycheck doing what he does. The possibilities are endless.


Like I said in the beginning of my post. We don't know the details. And as someone already mentioned, Apple execs are already filthy rich, so it comes down to doing a job that matters. If it's ambition or room to grow that's driving him -- He could become his own entrepreneur, he obviously knows what he's doing. If it is money, perhaps JC Penny is offering more?? Don't know. All I'm saying is at the end of the day his work at Apple *appears* to be much more fulfilling then running ship at JC Penny ever could.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Obviously, we don't know the details, but it's hard to understand how someone could find the job of being a retail chief for JC Penny more fulfilling than Apple.

Interesting question.

But more interesting is the question suggested by the facts of the matter:

Why might someone find the job of being CEO of JC Penny more fulfilling than being one SVP among many?
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'll gladly take the job for $1/year plus full health benefits and all the free Apple kit I want.

They wouldn't hire you at any price. But you know that already, eh?
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

But Neil Stern, senior partner with retail consulting firm McMillanDoolittle LLP,

A doctor who is not treating the patient for this condition and has possibly never met the patient much less treated the patient for anything, but feels he is capable of diagnosing from a distance in this particular matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Obviously, we don't know the details, but it's hard to understand how someone could find the job of being a retail chief for JC Penny more fulfilling than Apple.

The challenge of turning around a near dead company is appealing to someone that likes to be challenged in his job. Not to mention spreading "the Apple Way" increases the number of Kool Aid drinkers

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'll gladly take the job for $1/year plus full health benefits and all the free Apple kit I want.

pity you would never get the free kit. they stopped that a lot time ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

I think Apple should hire within the family and not go with an outsider.

It's very possible that Cano will get the job in the end. However there are several regulations and laws when it comes to a company of this size that prohibit them from just promoting someone for a job at this level. They actually have to look outside as well. ANd really look. Not just a "well I called Apple Care and they said they don't deal with returning lost phones to their owners so I figured I was okay to keep it and then sell it to Gizmodo" half ass attempt

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Interesting question.

But more interesting is the question suggested by the facts of the matter:

Why might someone find the job of being CEO of JC Penny more fulfilling than being one SVP among many?

I guess none of us will ever know, unless we learn the details.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

They wouldn't hire you at any price. But you know that already, eh?

Starting off with a personal attack early this week, yet you'll cry foul when anyone disagrees with you.
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post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

I guess none of us will ever know, unless we learn the details.

The details have been spelled out all over the place. Some people want an opportunity to grow beyond where they are. He comes from a retail background prior to Apple as VP Marketing of Target. Even though he has a big stock option at the end of the terms set out, their is, for a certain type of person, more at stake than the money on top of what he has from Apple.

If it seems weird or odd that he would leave Apple it may simply be that from where some people think and live, it makes no sense and those people would probably never leave the nest they are in for a shift in role, responsibilities and possibility for achieving. I know several people, in person, who don't understand it. It just doesn't fit in with the way they think.
post #18 of 28
I think it's far better for Apple to hire internally for a top job like this. The Apple retail operation has been more successful than just about any other retail operation in the world. It stands to reason that the best people would be internal.

Hire externally for jobs one or two levels below this one. For example, if Apple needs more expertise that's China-specific, hire someone at the VP level with that experience. After that person gains experience at Apple, they might later be a candidate for the top retail job.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I think it's far better for Apple to hire internally for a top job like this. The Apple retail operation has been more successful than just about any other retail operation in the world. It stands to reason that the best people would be internal.

Hire externally for jobs one or two levels below this one. For example, if Apple needs more expertise that's China-specific, hire someone at the VP level with that experience. After that person gains experience at Apple, they might later be a candidate for the top retail job.

When Apple was starting the retail stores they took the advice of the head of the Gap (who was a board member) as far as how to create it and some guiding principles and they also went and found one of the best externally. Apple has a strong process for making sure people will fit in at the company these days, so they won't hire the best person if that person is also out of sync w/Apple. I don't see a problem w/hiring externally so long as they find someone who is a good fit for the job and the company. Would it be nice to see promotion form within? Of course, but if the best person for the job is outside the company and fits in well, they'd be foolish not to bring them in.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificfilm View Post

The details have been spelled out all over the place. Some people want an opportunity to grow beyond where they are. He comes from a retail background prior to Apple as VP Marketing of Target. Even though he has a big stock option at the end of the terms set out, their is, for a certain type of person, more at stake than the money on top of what he has from Apple.

If it seems weird or odd that he would leave Apple it may simply be that from where some people think and live, it makes no sense and those people would probably never leave the nest they are in for a shift in role, responsibilities and possibility for achieving. I know several people, in person, who don't understand it. It just doesn't fit in with the way they think.

....ugh..no sleep last night and groggy spellings abound...ie, there..possibilities.....
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificfilm View Post

The details have been spelled out all over the place. .

No, they haven't. We know absolutely nothing about why he left Apple. Everything in this thread is speculation.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

Obviously, we don't know the details, but it's hard to understand how someone could find the job of being a retail chief for JC Penny more fulfilling than Apple.

He's not becoming the "retail chief" for J.C. Penny - he's the new CEO. Big difference.
post #23 of 28
will there be a little apple store area in all the JCP's now??? Do they even have electronics? I have not stepped inside A JCP in 25 years (and it's right down the street).
post #24 of 28
First, let's get the spelling. It's J.C. Penney.

JCP offers a terrific opportunity for an innovative retailing professional like Johnson, who made his bones at Target before joining Apple. Although in the second-tier among national clothing and home goods retailers, JCP has some strengths - relatively modern stores, plus a continuing reputation for solid value, quality and customer service in moderately priced goods. Johnson's opportunities lie in upsetting and remaking a rather boring, mature industry, thus vaulting Penney back into the top tier in its business while improving operating results and financial performance. Kohl's will be one of its principal competitors in the coming years. Sears/Kmart, Macy's, Saks and Dillard's are ripe for Penney's to steal their business if Johnson plays his cards right. He'll avoid playing in the same sandbox as Target and WalMart.

The innovative skill set that Johnson honed at Apple is what an established retailer like JCP needs.

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

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post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Starting off with a personal attack early this week, yet you'll cry foul when anyone disagrees with you.

Your history of posts and reputation speak for you. Don't let the unpleasant look of the stain get you down...stains wash away in the end.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Starting off with a personal attack early this week

It's rare for me, Pot.
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Starting off with a personal attack early this week, yet you'll cry foul when anyone disagrees with you.

pot, this is kettle...
post #28 of 28
Target and the Gap are two of my favorite stores because they are designed so well. I hate going into JCPenny and avoid it it at all cost. It's too big and sells stuff I don't want. That guy has his work cut out for him at JCP.
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