Apple Only Considering Outside Candidates for Senior VP of Retail Position

Apple is only looking at outside candidates for the head of its retail division, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The position has been empty since last fall when John Browett was let go after less than a year on the job, with the retail division reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.

Potential external candidates have been wary about taking charge at Apple Retail, largely because the company has not been clear about its future plans for the division, and many outsiders were seen as a poor fit for the job.

Apple's search for a replacement, handled by recruiters Egon Zehnder International, has gone slowly, people familiar with the matter said, and the company has yet to settle on a finalist after interviewing several external candidates. Among those interviewed but rejected as a poor fit were wireless and telecommunications-industry executives, one such person said. A CEO of a privately held retailer in France spurned Apple's overtures, believing it would be hard to change Apple's culture as an outsider, another person said.

Apple doesn't consider internal candidates to be an option, according to a third person familiar with the matter.

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The article does note that a focus on customer service has returned to the stores after, during Browett's tenure, the company began aggressively focusing on sales with a drop in customer satisfaction ratings reflecting that change.

Prior to Browett, Ron Johnson was the head of Apple Retail for more than ten years, making Apple's stores into one of the most profitable retail chains in the world. Johnson left the company to be the CEO of JC Penney, though he was fired from that position earlier this year.

Top Rated Comments

ThomasJL Avatar
98 months ago
Is there a possibility of Ron Johnson returning?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
98 months ago
"A CEO of a privately held retailer in France spurned Apple's overtures, believing it would be hard to change Apple's culture"

Therein lies the problem. Why in the world should anyone wants to change something that brings immense satisfaction to the end users? By turning it into a generic Best-Buy style experience in order to squeeze profits, you undermine the entire notion of "Think Different." ALL that a new retail chief should worry about it making the place something consumers flock to because they KNOW they will love it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
98 months ago

Would you return to a job you left after failing at your subsequent job?


Ask Steve Jobs. I mean, NEXT wasn't exactly a wild success.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordVic Avatar
98 months ago
ME, ME, ME.

did i say me!
I have... EXPERIENCE! I was CEO of my own failed computer building company. thats qualifying material RIGHT THERE!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TWSS37 Avatar
98 months ago
Related article:

Part time Apple Retail Employee Hopes Crushed
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Patriot24 Avatar
98 months ago

Exactly. They don't need to change the recipe. They just need someone who is willing to keep reaching into the pot and ladling that good gravy on the potatoes.

I privately maintain that Johnson didn't fail at JCP. I think he took a dying brand and tried to redefine it. The dwindling customer base revolted because they couldn't handle the change, and upper management panicked. I think JCP will eventually fail, because they are in a market segment that is going away. They are too dowdy and pricey to compete with Target and WalMart, and too lowbrow to compete with upscale retailers.

People should remember what Johnson did for Target before he came to Apple.

If Johnson wants to come back I think the company should hire him.

Nailed it. JCP is the problem, not Johnson. They will continue to circle the drain with or without him.

Johnson's failure to instill a culture of always presenting the customer with a simple pricing structure (the price on the tag is the price, and the lowest price) without complicated sales or trickery is a sad commentary on our ability as consumers to appreciate honesty and simplicity. Apparently we all want to be tricked into buying things we don't need with needlessly complicated overlapping sales and coupons so that we can feel like we're getting a good "deal". In fact, you're not getting any deal at all. You just arrived at the price that the product should've been in the first place.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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