Apple hires Dixons CEO John Browett as new retail chief

Apple today announced that John Browett will join the company as senior vice president of Retail, reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Browett comes to Apple from European technology retailer Dixons Retail, where he has been CEO since 2007.

Beginning in April, he will be responsible for Apple’s retail strategy and the continued expansion of Apple retail stores around the world.

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

Prior to joining Dixons Retail, Browett held a series of executive positions at Tesco plc including CEO of Earlier in his career he advised retail and consumer goods clients at Boston Consulting Group. He holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University and an MBA from Wharton Business School.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats, Mr. Browett. You’ve got some big shoes to fill, so best of luck, too!

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J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson: What I learned building the Apple Store – November 21, 2011
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Why Apple’s retail genius Ron Johnson is paying for the privilege of running J.C. Penney – June 15, 2011
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  1. Steve would never had invited that guy on board

    Very poor decision there, Dixons stores are crap.

    Apple now a consumer electronics retailer?

    Next there be bringing out a bloody toaster!

  2. Like anybody who lives in the UK, I know that a visit to a Dixon’s shop is something that is best avoided whenever possible, so it’s impossible to link Dixon’s with a good customer experience.

    However, I also know that sometimes in a company, there may be one or two individuals who have values and aspirations that are wasted within the structure of that company.

    Browett joined Dixon’s in 2007 and the appalling customer experience was something that long preceded that date. He has worked for some other companies that have had pretty good track records and I’m prepared to believe that Tim Cook sees potential in Browett that isn’t obvious to a Dixon’s customer.

    I wish him well. I hope that he delivers what Tim Cook is expecting, otherwise his career at Apple will be short lived.

  3. I certainly hope he makes sure that Apple Store’s continue to be well stocked. It’s a well known fact that if you go to a Dixons/Currys for something, it will most definitely not be in stock.

    I avoid Dixons/Currys like the plague. Horrible stores.

  4. On the face of it this is a crazy decision; Dixon’s and Curry’s is a failed formula that’s deservedly in financial trouble with a shopping experience that is simply terrible. Their corporate philosophy is to pile high, hire dopey sales people and train them to ripoff people where possible and hard sell. Their idea of advice is to pressurise you into buying an extended warranty This guy obviously talked the talk in Cook’s eyes, but can he walk the walk?

    I’d love to know what he said.

  5. I think that Browett’s history with Tesco is probably more significant here. Then he took the Dixons post because he wanted to be in charge of something. Now he’s realised that being in charge of a pile of crap isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

  6. ……. agree with all of this. Dixons is one of the worst retailers in the UK – poor people and poor product displays – so I hope this guy really knows what the Apple game is and FAST …
    Not tempted by his Tesco background – they are not exactly a example of GREAT retailing – they too are pile it high sell it cheap ….

  7. “Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

    Tim needs to get out more.

  8. As a former Apple Retail Sr. Mgr., this decision puzzles me. Who is the Browett character?

    First, why hire someone from the U.K.? While much of Apple’s retail expansion will be global, the vast majority of revenue comes from the U.S.

    Second, Dixon’s looks like a glorified discount retailer. A retailer that thrives on promotions and sales to drive traffic, loud signs to attract attention, and certainly doesn’t depend on well trained and educated sales folks to recommend products. Why not hire the CEO of Walgreens or CVS?

    Third, let’s compare. Johnson came from Target where he helped establish their identity as midpoint between Walmart and a department store. Browett comes from a discount convenience store where he did what?

    Forth, and I cannot stress this enough… Apple Retail is the most demanding, strikingly different, and secretly innovative retail experience in the industry. Just because Browett claims to have a passion for the customer, doesn’t mean he has all of the tools required to manage a retail sector (consumer electronics) that is wildly different than Dixon’s. (Albeit, it will be easier now that upset customers can’t email Steve Jobs directly anymore.)

    As a stockholder, I certainly wish Mr. Browett success and good luck. He has a lot of very talented folks working in Apple Retail. But, there are also some huge challenges as traffic and sales grow but store size remains constant.

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