updated 06:25 pm EDT, Wed August 21, 2013
Steve Cano moves up to VP of worldwide retail operations, SVP still being sought
Apple is making some changes to its retail arsenal, poaching a top executive from jeans maker Levi Strauss to head up its US west coast retail operations while promoting a long-serving executive, Steve Cano, to vice president of retail operations -- though the company is still said to be looking outside its workforce for a permanent senior VP of worldwide retail. Cano will report directly to Tim Cook, who along with other senior executives such as marketing chief Phil Schiller is handling the retail side of operations until a new leader is found.
Enrique Atienza was senior VP for global store operations and and retail in the Americas for Levi Strauss before leaving the company recently, reports AppleInsider. As one of the top directors of US retail for Apple, he will be in charge of numerous regions on the west coast when he officially begins his duties in October, and will report directly to Cano.
Atienza is said to have been selected from among a number of internal and external candidates due to his focus at Levi's on customer experience. Atienza led the jeans maker in a transition that streamlined global operations for more consistency among stores, reduced the number of lines of jeans to avoid "regional-only" models, and reduced local control so that stores and customers would see a more uniform look and experience.
Cano has been an important executive in Apple's retail team for years, and is considered a disciple of former head of retail Ron Johnson. Apple has not had an official worldwide retail chief since last fall, following the firing of former Dixon's CEO John Browett. A number of other Apple retail executives have also left Apple over the last year, presumably because they were not named to head up the retail operation. The company is said to be looking for outside candidates and even outside the US for a permanent senior VP of worldwide retail.
Apple now has a total of 412 of its own stores, plus innumerable numbers of authorized resellers. It is by far the most profitable-per-square-foot retail operation in the world, and sets the bar for positive retail experiences in the industry, particularly for electronics sellers. Atienza will officially be joining Apple retail at the start of its busiest season, with numerous product launches in the works for the fall -- including new iPhones, iPads, operating systems for both Mac and iOS devices, upgraded Macs and a revamped Mac Pro, along with possibly some entirely new products.