“A key player in the birth of Apple’s retail chain and a potential candidate to lead the retail stores has left the company,” Gary Allen reports for ifoAppleStore. “Jerry McDougal, Vice-President of Retail, said goodbye to his colleagues last Friday, sources say. His departure was explained as not work-related, but rather so he could spend more time with his family.”

MacDailyNews Take: Our cliché alarms just went off. Hold on a sec…

“McDougal was [former retail honcho Ron] Johnson’s right-hand man from the moment the chain was conceived in 2000, and there was speculation he might replace Johnson,” Allen reports. “However, CEO Tim Cook selected outsider John Browett of UK-based Dixons for the position. When Browett was fired last October, speculation again focused on McDougal and others for the Sr. VP position. Instead, McDougal has now departed, and the company says it continues to search for Browett’s successor.”

Read more in the full article here.

John Paczkowski reports for AllThingsD, “McDougal, who resigned earlier this month, is to be replaced by Jim Bean, formerly Apple VP of Finance.”

“While it’s not clear if this is an exec-for-exec swap, Bean has exactly the sort of operational acumen that would lend itself to the position McDougal’s departure leaves open,” Paczkowski reports. “‘Retail has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level, and they will continue the excellent work they’ve done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services and a focus on the customer that is second to none,’ Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said. ‘Jim Bean is moving to Retail to help support our store teams. Jim has been at Apple for 15 years and is a great leader who understands our culture and focus on customer service.'”

Read more in the full article here.