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Report: Apple won't hire internally to replace retail chief

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Apple will not be hiring from within its own organization in order to choose a head of its retail division, according to a new report.



Apple's retail operations have been without a permanent head ever since the departure of John Browett in October of last year. CEO Tim Cook has been running the division since Browett's departure, and the iPhone maker has retained recruitment firm Egon Zehnder International to locate a replacement, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Despite the search, Apple has yet to settle on a finalist to head up its retail arm, and the company has reportedly turned down and been turned down by a number of candidates in the process. Among those rejected were wireless and telecommunications industry executives, according to sources. One CEO of a privately held French retailer declined Apple's interest, believing that it would be hard to change the company's culture as an outsider.

Despite the difficulties in locating a suitable candidate, the Journal's report makes plain that Apple will not be hiring from within the company to find Browett's replacement.

The former Apple executive was brought in in January of last year, replacing Ron Johnson, who had helmed the company's retail business for 10 years before moving on to an eventually disastrous tenure at JCPenney. Prior to joining Apple, Browett had served as CEO both at Dixons and Tesco.

Browett attempted to make Apple retail stores "learn to run leaner in all areas, even if the customer experience is compromised." He encouraged a much heavier focus on sales, sometimes calling for teaching-oriented employees to join the sales floor between classes.

Cook has held the reins of retail since Browett's short tenure ended, and Apple stores are still springing up around the world. The perception has grown among some observers, though, that the magic has faded somewhat. Retail earnings this past quarter were flat year-over-year.

Still, the company plans to open nine new stores in the next quarter and to relocate 23 other locations over the course of fiscal 2013.
post #2 of 16
I thought Ron Johnson would be brought back to Apple. Perhaps he burned some bridges upon leaving C-Town.

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post #3 of 16
"One CEO of a privately held French retailer declined Apple's interest, believing that it would be hard to change the company's culture as an outsider. "

Then they had a lucky escape. Thats not the person they want.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedalmatian View Post

"One CEO of a privately held French retailer declined Apple's interest, believing that it would be hard to change the company's culture as an outsider. "

Then they had a lucky escape. Thats not the person they want.

 

Exactly, why the hell would you want to change the culture of the best retail chain in the world by many metrics?!  They need someone who will embrace and foster the existing culture while providing good leadership.

post #5 of 16
Retail earnings are flat year over year, but the economy is not to blame. No, that's crazy talk.
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 #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I thought Ron Johnson would be brought back to Apple. Perhaps he burned some bridges upon leaving C-Town.

No bridges burned. I'd say he doesn't want to go back because he felt he achieved everything he needed to achieve there. He left for a change. He's already mega rich so he's so motivated by money either.
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 #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedalmatian View Post

"One CEO of a privately held French retailer declined Apple's interest, believing that it would be hard to change the company's culture as an outsider. "

Then they had a lucky escape. Thats not the person they want.

Obligatory: "These are not the driods you are looking for." "Heck of a job, Browett."

 

If Apple is still looking outside the company, then they didn't hire that watch/jewelry guy to head op the retail. Additionally, they seem to want to bring something new to the retail experience; to "wake up" the business as usual mode they are in now (even though it is a well-working formula). Browett tried to turn the Apple stores into a 2012 version of JC Penny. 

It makes me wonder if Apple knows what kind of changes they want or if they are thinking, "We'll know it when we see it." 

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #8 of 16
Thank god. They did so well bringing in an outsider last time.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #9 of 16
I don't understand why the **** Apple WOULDN'T hire from their own ranks, and get someone that intimately knows the company, it's culture, philosophy, vision, and values. Not like Apple Stores need a massive shakeup- they're the most successful retail stores on the planet. This is one area where it makes sense to hire internally, and continue improving something that's already fantastic instead of rocking the boat.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Thank god. They did so well bringing in an outsider last time.

Right. So if the previous guy wore white jeans, they shouldn't hire another guy who wears white jeans. The fact that he was an outsider has nothing to do with why he failed.

Considering that there haven't been new products lately, that Apple has done so well in the past that they've saturated the market, thT there's more competition, that Apple products are sold in lots of other retail and that the ecomomy still sucks in the US and is a diaster in Europe, the fact that sales are flat is actually quite remarkable.

As for the candidate who thought he couldn't change the culture, maybe he wanted to improve customer service, increase employee morale and reduce arrogance. Not all culture changes are bad.
post #11 of 16
Stories go that Ron Johnson had many a run-in with SJ as he was pushing his vision of the retail store. Johnson eventually convinced SJ to Apple's success. Does Cook know what he wants in the retail chief? I doubt it. They want someone who will be innovative and successfully move Apple in the right direction.

I would not think Ron Johnson is in the running to take over again. It seems that he showed substantial weaknesses at JCP in that he was unable to change course when data showed his changes were not working at JCP. That is not a good sign.
post #12 of 16
As if the Wall Street Journal had the inside story. Yeah, right.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #13 of 16

Prior to joining Apple, Browett had served as CEO both at Dixons and Tesco.

 

He was chief exec of Tesco.com, not Tesco, there is a big difference.

post #14 of 16

Someone they trust, who is proven, has experience, understands the culture of Apple but is strong enough to build on it . . .

. . . seems to me Apple should be courting Ron Johnson to return (which I have thought ever since he left JC Penny.)

Seriously.

post #15 of 16

Perhaps Johnson burned some bridges (I don't know) and he left with a bit of a cloud over his head. Yes JC Penny din't work out (but frankly I never thought the fit was good—a company like Target would have been better in my mind.) but the fact is he was great for Apple and still could be (if he's willing, which I also have no idea about.)

 

Other people have left Apple in unfavorable circumstances, had some mixed results elsewhere, and then found success back at Apple . . .

I'm thinking Steve Jobs was one of them.

post #16 of 16
Exactly, why the hell would you want to change the culture of the best retail chain in the world by many metrics?5.gifOh so does Wal-Mart.
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