Apple's Search for New Retail Chief Extending Internationally

Back in June, department store chain J.C. Penney announced that it had named Apple retail boss Ron Johnson as its next Chief Executive Officer, with Johnson set to take the new job as of November 1st. Johnson has played an instrumental role at Apple over the past decade, overseeing the company's entire retail store initiative since joining Apple from discount retailer Target in 2000.

apple store pudong night
Apple's Pudong retail store in Shanghai, China

As part of its efforts to find a replacement for Johnson, Apple has reportedly extended its reach internationally with the hiring of search firm Egon Zehnder to assist with the search, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who's now on medical leave, was extensively involved in the decision to use a search firm and chose Egon Zehnder mainly because he wants to consider executives who are based abroad, one person familiar with the situation said.

Apple's hiring of the global recruitment firm suggests that the company may be seeking an executive with international retail experience. That makes sense given that it has been focusing most of its recent retail expansion in international markets.

Apple's emphasis on international retail stores over the past several years has seen the international component of the company's retail arm grow to nearly 30% of the over 325 total stores. Apple currently operates retail stores in ten countries beyond the United States, and is in the midst of a significant push to open 30 more stores before the end of September.

Apple's "Greater China" market of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong has been a major focus for the company over the last year or two, although Apple has been relatively slow to open new stores there as the company currently operates only four stores in the country, all of which rank among the busiest in the company's chain. Apple last year announced plans to open up to 25 new stores in China during the following 24 months, but the company has opened only three locations since that time as it has worked hard to identify the best locations and to make plans for larger and more iconic stores than originally anticipated.

Top Rated Comments

revelated Avatar
150 months ago
"Apple's Search for New Retail Chief Extending Internationally"

Steve, don't pay that firm. Pay me $250,000. I've found your guy.



Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
a4ex Avatar
150 months ago
I hope they will decide eventually to open one in Greece. We had enough with this resellers-crap
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Locodice Avatar
150 months ago
Steve really dropped the ball here.

I could see a special edition of The Apprentice with Steve picking the winner.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MoreAwesomeDanU Avatar
150 months ago
Steve really dropped the ball here.

I could see a special edition of The Apprentice with Steve picking the winner.

HAHAHA sorry that was hilarious
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
writingdevil Avatar
150 months ago
That's a very discouraging comment. Steve is not stupid. Apple is close to saturating the USA future growth will take place outside our borders. If Apple wants to continue its phenomenonal growth it needs to find someone who can translate that magic.

it's discouraging for a lot of reasons. for people, like s. jobs and other visionaries, are not limited in their perspective or held to boundaries for excellence. there is something missing, imo, when ideas, developers, creative minds and executive searches are supposed to be limited to the area between the atlantic and pacific oceans. it feels like such a micro view of the real world, when wildly successful people who understand global issues exist outside our borders. it's a healthy business step, another in a long line of efforts to excel by apple, some of which hit home runs, some are misses, but at least they reach out beyond the parochial perspective in their thinking.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
*LTD* Avatar
150 months ago
Why would anyone jump ship from Apple to manage JC Pennies? Skip out on the fastest growing company in the world with the most upside potential to run the retail aspect of a company that is cratering? There must be more to the story.
JC Penny needed a CEO.

Apple already has a CEO (and the Retail guy was not in line for that position, safe to say.)

Limited growth prospects at Apple vs. running a major corporation.

Draw your own conclusions.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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