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Apple hires Dixons Retail CEO John Browett as new SVP of Retail

post #1 of 67
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Apple announced on Monday that it had hired John Browett, former CEO at European Technology Retailer Dixons, to be its new Senior Vice President of Retail, a move that reflects the company's increased focus on its overseas retail operations.

Browett had served as CEO at his former company since 2007. Prior to that, he was CEO of Tesco.com. He holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and an MBA from Wharton Business School.

“Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release. “We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple.”

Browett takes over for Apple's former head of retail Ron Johnson. Johnson was instrumental in the formation of the company's retail business and spent more than 10 years at its helm before stepping down to join retailer JC Penney as CEO last November. After assembling a team that included former Apple alumni, Johnson outed JC Penney's new strategy last week with an Apple-like full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal.


John Browett, Apple's new SVP of Retail. | Credit: Dixons


Apple was reported to have engaged a global recruitment firm last summer to help it search for a new retail executive with international experience. The company's retail business has skewed toward international locations in recent years. Apple revealed last fall that 75 percent of its retail stores set to open during the December quarter would be outside of the U.S.

Looking ahead, Apple is set to open new store-within-a-store outlets at select Target locations in the U.S. For an in-depth look at Apple's plans for its retail business, see the recent AppleInsider report: The next ten years of Apple Retail.
post #2 of 67
Strange choice. Shopping at Dixons (and sister store PC World) is a terrible retailing experience.
post #3 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Strange choice. Shopping at Dixons (and sister store PC World) is a terrible retailing experience.

This was my immediate reaction. Tesco and Dixons? Really? A technology retailer? Will he want to turn the Apple stores into copies of the Microsoft stores? Just doesn't seem like the right fit.

But then, I suppose many might have had misgivings about Ron Johnson coming from Target (although Target has had good advertising and merchandising for years).

I guess we will have to wait and see what this change brings about but I have an ominous feeling that Apple will be looking for a replacement inside a year.
post #4 of 67
I grew up in the UK seeing Dixons stores in every major town and city centre. The shops were ok with a lot of the latest tech and they were the most popular place to buy electronics until online e-commerce got huge and and people favoured shopping on the internet as product prices became more competitive. That's when Dixons started to decline for me. PC World the same. The stores had atrociously bad customer service with sales guys who didn't really know and understand the products they were selling.
post #5 of 67
Oh dear. I can't bring myself to say much more than that.
post #6 of 67
I would echo the previous comments about the shopping experience.

Personally I grew tired of being pestered at every turn because of the salary commission structure used by management.
post #7 of 67
Oh dear, how did Apple get sucked in like this. He must talk the good talk. Dixons, Curry's, PC World -all in the same DSG group - have some of the worst retailing experience.

This does not bode well for Apple's future retailing, and it doesn't inspire me with confidence on Apple's thought processes moving forward if this is what they came up with.
post #8 of 67
Dixons are box shifters. Their staff try and sell you what they want you to buy ie the thing with the most commission. Dont even start me on the tech guys and extended warranties. I think this is a mistake.
post #9 of 67
Yep, I agree with what everyone else has said. Big mistake. Shopping at Dixons has always been a horrible experience.

Still, there's a Dixons right in the middle of Prince's Street, so there's maybe hope for an Edinburgh Apple Store yet!
post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

Oh dear. I can't bring myself to say much more than that.

Ditto. I hope this isn't a huge mistake.
post #11 of 67
Call me a snob but Tesco and Dixons? Not sure about this.

post #12 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by simtub View Post

I grew up in the UK seeing Dixons stores in every major town and city centre. The shops were ok with a lot of the latest tech and they were the most popular place to buy electronics until online e-commerce got huge and and people favoured shopping on the internet as product prices became more competitive. That's when Dixons started to decline for me. PC World the same. The stores had atrociously bad customer service with sales guys who didn't really know and understand the products they were selling.

Guess I'm not alone. I was in London for 2.5 months in 2008 and Currys, Dixons and PC World indeed did not impress me. And Tesco? Nothing majorly wrong, but it *is*... Tesco.

I'm sorry but I'm going to say this is not the guy that would have been hired if Steve was still alive, and I forsee Apple Retail holding steady rather than improving significantly, at best, assuming he stays more than two years, which I think is 50-50.

Ron Johnson's JC Penny ad is already somewhat badass, let's see what they come up with. Tesco and Dixon's... not sure, not sure mate.
post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by stniuk View Post

Dixons are box shifters. Their staff try and sell you what they want you to buy ie the thing with the most commission. Dont even start me on the tech guys and extended warranties. I think this is a mistake.

Oh yes...that reminds me.. 399 GBP for a 5 year extended warranty I paid when I bought a sony laptop at dixons. It was 50% the cost of the laptop itself. I remember the sales guy pushing and pushing saying how good of a deal it was and in the end he even ended up knocking 20% off the warranty package just to get commission out of it. Pain in the backside aggressive service ughh brings back memories. Funny enough my laptop did break down 4 years into usage and they replaced me with a brand new one of a new spec.
post #14 of 67
Irish store?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #15 of 67
It seems odd that the company with the best customer service record around hires someone who's in charge of a company with one of the worst customer service records around.
post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by drdb View Post

It seems odd that the company with the best customer service record around hires someone who's in charge of a company with one of the worst customer service records around.

Then again, Cook does not seems to be the type to give this guy free reign. I'd expect his experience will be used to help grow apple stores overseas as the article mentions.
post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Irish store?

But they already have one in Belfast... ***DUCKS FOR COVER***

Seriously though, I've been reading about what has happened
to Ireland post-bust. Also been running into quite a few Irish people
here in Australia.

Edit: I was going to say, sorry to hear about Ireland. Raped by Banks
post #18 of 67
I agree, Dixon's customer service was shockingly bad. But, you can't really fault it's effectiveness in it's market. As long as he understands that Apple is a different beast, he'll be fine.
And Tesco.. again a different market, but you can't fault their management (apart from very recently) over the last decade. It has been an incredible success story.
post #19 of 67
Can't understand this. Dixons (PC World & Currys) are well known over here for terrible service, ugly cluttered shops, pushy staff who don't have a clue about the products and will happily lie to you in order to get a sale, etc, etc. PC World is the last place I would buy a computer from. Complete opposite to the Apple Store experience. Very strange appointment.
post #20 of 67
Here's another vote condemning the horrible experience of Dixon's. The response here so far shows that this is a widely held view, and in fact the push by sales staff who knew nothing about the products to sell their extended warranty regardless was so egregious it became a staple for stand-up comics at one stage. Strange choice by Apple.
Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
Buddha
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Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
Buddha
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post #21 of 67
Saw this comment on another site which sums it up really..

"Company with best high-street customer service reputation hires man from company with worst high-street customer service reputation."

I am sure we are all being grossly unfair to this poor chap and Tim knows what he is doing..
post #22 of 67
You would think the most successful retail operation on the planet could have done better. Am I missing something?

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post #23 of 67
Dixons and Currys represent amongst the worst shopping experiences the UK has to offer. Their staff seem to know very little and their reputation is not one to be proud of. Perhaps this chap wanted to escape the Dixons environment and is actually quite good at what he does .. but after years of living with Dixons and Currys I rather think not. Get your act together Apple!
post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

You would think the most successful retail operation on the planet could have done better. Am I missing something?

How about:
1. You are a VP not a CEO.
2. We don't want to change anything.
3. You cant choose the products you sell.
4. You report to a very controlling personality.
5. You will be traveling 150 days a year.

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post #25 of 67
Oh Dear!

Dixons, with its other brands Currys and PC World, are well known in the UK as a major tech retailer, but also one of the worst shopping experience in the UK. They have huge stores but very few staff, so shopping there is like a scene out of some ghost story - lots of lost shoppers wandering around in the vague hope that someone will serve them. Even if you are "lucky" enough to collar a member of staff their technical knowledge tends to be nil, or sometimes even negative (they think they know about the products but all their facts are wrong). They are probably the country's leading seller of printers, but a couple of years ago they decided to stop selling computer paper! I think it just didn't return enough for the space it took up, but without paper the printers were useless. I think they now sell paper again.

I do hope he's not going to turn the Apple Stores into white and light wood versions of Currys/PC World.
post #26 of 67
Seems to me Apple's retail strategy is pretty much set in stone. Can't see this guy changing that. I doubt he was hired to turn Apple into Dixons. anyway I'm willing to give Tim Cook and the board the benefit of the doubt and not condem this guy before he's even started.
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

How about:
1. You are a VP not a CEO.
2. We don't want to change anything.
3. You cant choose the products you sell.
4. You report to a very controlling personality.
5. You will be traveling 150 days a year.

6. You will be working on a "special project" for the next nine months. Until we can trust you.
7. You will have little to no control of the store designs.
8. As Apple Retail is at the very top, the only way for you to go is down.

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post #28 of 67
I think this is one of the "caretaker" hires that Apple does. After a new product or service is in place, they often hire people who's talent is NOT innovation. "Just keep doing what we have been doing."

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post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Strange choice.

Even stranger haircut. Flat on the sides and pointy on the top?

post #30 of 67
Will be interesting to see how the markets react to this appointment. So far Apple stock is up 2.49 in pre-market trading.
post #31 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Even stranger haircut. Flat on the sides and pointy on the top?


Wow, 5 o'clock shadow, dishevelled collar, wierd haircut. Looks like they found him in a bar.

Sorry, in a pub.

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post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

Wow, 5 o'clock shadow, dishevelled collar, wierd haircut. Looks like they found him in a bar.

Sorry, in a pub.

Sounds a bit like Steve Jobs.




Dixons. Didn't they open the worlds first Google Shop and predict that the chromebook will make up 10% of all computer sales by the end of this year?
post #33 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

But they already have one in Belfast... ***DUCKS FOR COVER***

Seriously though, I've been reading about what has happened
to Ireland post-bust. Also been running into quite a few Irish people
here in Australia.

Edit: I was going to say, sorry to hear about Ireland. Raped by Banks

Yes but we want to be raped by Apple Stores.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

6. You will be working on a "special project" for the next nine months. Until we can trust you.

In this case it's less to do with trust and more to do with test.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

Wow, 5 o'clock shadow, dishevelled collar, wierd haircut. Looks like they found him in a bar.

Sorry, in a pub.

Dishevelled collar, I mean, how dare he
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOROM View Post

Wow, 5 o'clock shadow, dishevelled collar, wierd haircut. Looks like they found him in a bar.

Sorry, in a pub.

Sounds exactly like Steve Jobs, in fact. I hated when Steve gave Stevenotes fully shaved; his stubble was the best.

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #37 of 67
The only consulation is that it will take Mr Browett an awful long time and a lot of hard work to make any Apple Store as abysmal as a Dixons, Currys or PC World. Hopefully before then he will be giving some other organisation the benefit of his knowledge.
post #38 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonorom View Post

6. You will be working on a "special project" for the next nine months. Until we can trust you.
7. You will have little to no control of the store designs.
8. As apple retail is at the very top, the only way for you to go is down.


lmfao @ 6.

Hahahahahahahaha
post #39 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Sounds exactly like Steve Jobs, in fact. I hated when Steve gave Stevenotes fully shaved; his stubble was the best.

Yeah, I can see the memo:

"Dear (name). You are scheduled for your New Hire Press Release photo on (date). We understand that most new hires come from a typical corporate culture, so this is a reminder to:

Not shave the morning of your photo appointment;
Drink heavily the night before (we want you to have that hard-working, saggy-eyed look);
Wear a day-old shirt half unbuttonned; and
Do NOT get a haircut.

Welcome to Apple!"

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post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamPadruig View Post

Oh Dear!

Dixons, with its other brands Currys and PC World, are well known in the UK as a major tech retailer, but also one of the worst shopping experience in the UK. They have huge stores but very few staff, so shopping there is like a scene out of some ghost story - lots of lost shoppers wandering around in the vague hope that someone will serve them. Even if you are "lucky" enough to collar a member of staff their technical knowledge tends to be nil, or sometimes even negative (they think they know about the products but all their facts are wrong). They are probably the country's leading seller of printers, but a couple of years ago they decided to stop selling computer paper! I think it just didn't return enough for the space it took up, but without paper the printers were useless. I think they now sell paper again.

I do hope he's not going to turn the Apple Stores into white and light wood versions of Currys/PC World.

Yes, Currys, Dixons and PC World have always sucked big time. I remember when PC World started carrying Macs and thinking it was doing the Apple brand a dis-service. The Macs looked filthy and dishevelled and the staff would always point you away towards a PC.

But having said that... we are all comparing to the Apple stores. Are there, or were there, any god tech shopping experiences around before the Apple stores? I remember having no qualms about using Dixons or Currys because there really was nothing much better. Not sure if there is today.
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