updated 02:00 am EDT, Wed May 2, 2012
Formally takes place as SVP of Retail
John Browett, the former head of UK retail chain Dixons who was recruited to replace Ron Johnson, has been added to Apple's Leadership web page that profiles the top level of its executive team and Board of Directors. Browett, who had previously also been head of grocery chain Tesco, is Apple's senior vice president of retail and "oversees Apple's retail strategy and the continued expansion of Apple retail stores around the world," according to the bio on the page.
Browett will have both an easy and difficult time of it, easy in that he inherits a world-beating retail operation that is the most profitable conventional retail chain anywhere stocked with highly-desired products and featuring award-winning architectural design. At the same time, he will be hard-pressed to top what his predecessor Johnson was able to accomplish in conjunction with former CEO Steve Jobs in building the chain in the first place. Johnson has since moved on to become the CEO of department store chain JC Penney.
Johnson has already brought in some former Apple retail executives to help him with his makeover of the 110-year-old chain, and there is some possibility that Apple and JCP will work together on some level, as Johnson is pursuing the store-within-a-store concept that preceded the Apple retail stores and first brought Macs back into the mainstream shopping experience. The relationship between Apple and Johnson is still warm.
Browett was announced as Johnson's successor in January, but has only just formally taken up retail duties. In the interim, CFO Peter Oppenheimer along with other Apple retail executives oversaw daily operations. Browett's time at Dixon's was generally seen as positive with a turn towards better customer service, a factor Apple prizes highly. Apple continues to have one of the most well-regarded customer service rankings inside and outside the tech industry.