updated 10:30 pm EST, Tue January 15, 2013
Section still leaderless since Browett departed in October
Jerry McDougal, the second-in-command of retail at Apple, has left the company. The move leaves Apple without either a formal leader or lieutenant in the retail segment of the business, following the ouster of the controversial John Browett in late October. McDougal said he left the company to spend more time with his family -- a familiar story, but one that actually rings true for many employees at Apple. Apple has said that Jim Bean, a VP in Apple's finance department, will move over to the retail division to help keep things running.
Until 2011, Apple Retail was run -- and largely built by -- former SVP Ron Johnson, who left to rescue the ailing JC Penney. Browett took over some months later, but fell foul of the executive team by making unpopular changes (most of which were quickly reversed) and was forced out less than a year into the job.
Browett did, however, oversee the building of a number of expansion Apple Stores, including some flagship outlets, and McDougal (among others) was a frequent fixture at such openings. Since Browett's departure, CEO Tim Cook has been the nominal head of retail, but with support from other retail executives. Bean, who will join the team, has spent 15 years at Apple.
McDougal had been considered a candidate for the Retail SVP position, but may have balked at the further time commitments that may have entailed -- or perhaps was informed that he would not be chosen and decided to leave the company. Other possible candidates for the permanent post include the existing VP of Retail Real Estate Bob Bridger, and a current VP of Retail, long-time Apple stalwart Steve Cano. The fact that neither man nor McDougal were named to the post shortly following Browett's departure may indicate that the company still feels the need to look outside for a full-time retail chief.
McDougal came to Apple in 2000 following a long stint at IBM and a short move to online retailer PC Connection. Under Johnson, McDougal handled areas including store operations, customer loyalty programs, retail marketing, loss prevention and product merchandising, and was considered Johnson's right-hand man, reports ifoAppleStore. CEO Tim Cook is likely to be quizzed about the retail division during next week's conference call with analysts to report earnings for the final calendar quarter of 2012.