On Thursday, “Apple Retail chief John Browett emailed Apple Retail Store leadership with a mea culpa,” Jim Tanous writes for The Mac Observer. “From the Dow Jones Newswire: ‘In a communication with store leadership teams, senior vice president of retail, John Browett… said that the company had been trying a new staffing formula for its retail stores, leading some employees to see their hourly shifts cut and retail locations to be understaffed. He instructed leadership teams to tell employees, ‘We messed up,’ according to two people who were aware of the communication, which also stressed that while shift schedules were affected, no one was laid off. He also wanted employees to know that [Apple Retail] was hiring new staff, these people said.'”

MacDailyNews Take: There is no “we” about it. You messed up, Dixons-Boy. You. Own it or you’ll get no respect, ever.

Apple Retail Stores are the public face of Apple. Apple Retail Stores are responsible in large part for Apple’s success, perhaps even more than even Tim Cook realizes – or he would have made damn sure that a person who fully understood how Steve Jobs’ Apple works was hired to replace Ron Johnson. Cook should have hired Johnson’s replacement from within Apple Retail. Major mistake.

Apple Senior VP Retail: John Browett

Apple Senior VP Retail: John Browett

“A report from ifoAppleStore claims that it was no staffing formula that caused the commotion; it was Mr. Browett’s own plans put into motion,” Tanous writes. “According to ifoAppleStore’s sources, Mr. Browett sent the following orders to many of Apple’s Retail Stores:”

• Cease all recruiting and hiring events
• Make no promotions
• Immediately lay off newly-hired employees who are still on probation
• Reduce available hours for part-time employees
• Reduce or eliminate available overtime
• Lay off or fire employees who can only work more than 32 hours a week and not part-time

Tanous writes, “Apple Retail jobs are stressful, demanding, and require significant technical knowledge in addition to a whole lot of compassion, understanding, and a willingness to take vicious abuse. The kind of people who meet these criteria simply don’t come cheap and Apple needs to divert more money and resources, not less, to this critical group of employees… Mr. Browett needs to wake up and get his act together: he’s not at Dixons anymore.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Tim Cook’s biggest hire to date. It makes us worry. Cook needs to own his mistake, too.

This isn’t about minor “mistakes.” This is about an outside virus that threatens to irrevocably damage Apple’s DNA; invited in by Cook to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, no less.

Browett’s type of “thinking” will kill Apple faster than 10 lines of beige Performas.

If Cook can’t see that clearly, he needs to go, too.

Concerned Apple shareholders might want to email CEO Tim Cook directly and ask him what exactly he’s doing to fix this Browett problem: tcook@apple.com

MacDailyNews Note: 9:30am EDT: We have just put up a new poll in the left-hand column of the main website: “Should Apple CEO Tim Cook fire Sr. VP of Retail John Browett?”

Related articles:
Dear Tim Cook: Apple’s retail focus should be on delighting customers, not generating cash – August 16, 2012
Apple Retail Store chief Browett: ‘We messed up’ with Dixons-eque staffing gamble; refutes layoffs – August 16, 2012
Apple retail chief Browett to get $56 million golden hello – May 27, 2012
Apple grants 100,000 shares to new retail head John Browett – April 25, 2012
Tim Cook emails UK customer: John Browett’s role isn’t to bring Dixons to Apple Retail – February 1, 2012
Eyebrows raised over Apple’s hiring of Dixons CEO to run Apple Retail Stores – January 31, 2012
Apple hires Dixons CEO John Browett as new retail chief – January 31, 2012

Apple Inc.: The most profitable retailer in America – August 15, 2012
Apple’s retail juggernaut is magical and revolutionary in its own right – May 25, 2011
Apple Retail Stores hit 10th anniversary (with video of Steve Jobs’ tour of 1st store) – May 18, 2011
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Apple’s retail stores generate huge sales – December 27, 2007
Piper Jaffray finds ‘gravitational pull’ at Apple Retail Stores – November 26, 2007
Apple thinks different with cash register-less retail stores that bring in billions – November 23, 2007
Apple makes retail seem ridiculously easy – May 29, 2007
How Apple’s Steve Jobs is revolutionizing Manhattan retail – May 08, 2007
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How Apple Retail Stores beat Best Buy, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany – December 19, 2006