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Old Feb 1, 2012, 07:57 AM   #1
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Tim Cook on New Retail Chief John Browett: 'The Best by Far'




MacRumors reader Tony Hart notes on his blog that after emailing Apple CEO Tim Cook with his thoughts on the company's selection of Dixons CEO John Browett as the next head of retail, he received a personal response in which Cook noted that Browett was "the best by far" among the candidates he talked with about the position.
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Tony,

I talked to many people and John was the best by far. I think you will be as pleased as I am. His role isn't to bring Dixons to Apple, [it's] to bring Apple to an even higher level of customer service and satisfaction.

Tim
The selection of Browett has raised some concerns among those familiar with Dixons, which operates stores under a number of names including Currys and PC World, as the retailer does not have particularly good reputation in the UK. Browett has, however, been considered by some to be a rising star in retail after serving time leading operations at supermarket chain Tesco and then taking the reins at Dixons in 2007. Apple had also been expected to look internationally for its next retail chief as the company focuses its expansion plans on locations outside of the United States.




While Steve Jobs was known for occasionally responding to customer emails, usually with tersely-worded replies, Cook seems to have carried on that tradition even as he has moved to put his own stamp on Apple. A number of Cook's emails to the Apple team have made their way out of the company's offices, and he has on occasion, as in this case, replied to customer emails as well.

Article Link: Tim Cook on New Retail Chief John Browett: 'The Best by Far'
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:02 AM   #2
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I talked to many people and John was the best by far.
Did he only interview one person?
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:04 AM   #3
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Did he only interview one person?
The other candidates were probably the CEOs of Poundland and Lidl.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:04 AM   #4
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Did he only interview one person?
Highly likely.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:06 AM   #5
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I loath PC World with a passion few would believe, but I still think Apple have made a solid choice here....They clearly want to upscale the retail side of things...Many of us may never have visited an Apple Store, preferring our own sales representative and the www, etc.

I have been to a couple of them, but all my large purchases have been made via the web site, and the phone...I feel ( perhaps mistakenly ) that I get a better, more personal service that way.

I believe that Apple intend to revamp the retail store side of the business, probably making quite a few changes to the sales experience. Browlett has an undoubted track record here, and weather I continue to purchase as I always have ( and I will) I think Apple will sell more to new customers with this guy running the retail sector of the operation.

Time, of course will tell, but in terms of Apples future, and in the end the product line, I think this is a sensible move. Would Steve have done it? No, I doubt it, but Apple is making a lot of money, and I would like to see this continue, so that new and innovative products can be developed and brought to all of us, irrespective of how we choose to purchase them.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:08 AM   #6
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I believe that Apple intend to revamp the retail store side of the business, probably making quite a few changes to the sales experience. Browlett has an undoubted track record here
Oh, there'll be changes all right... and not for the better.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:10 AM   #7
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Cripes ..... he must be saving himself for this job then, Dixons is dire
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:12 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by miles01110 View Post
Did he only interview one person?
Quote from Tim Cook -"[it's] to bring Apple to an even higher level of customer service and satisfaction."

It's never going to happen if the level of service he's been used to is Dixon's, Curry's and Tesco. He would have no idea of what good service or customer satisfaction would be. If he was the best by far, then I would keep looking. Very poor, Tim.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:12 AM   #9
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Oh, there'll be changes all right... and not for the better.
If you mean larger, superstore style is a change for the worse ( and it is IMO ) then yes....But I won't be frequenting those stores, and I doubt you would. It's kind of a dual customer base if you like.

As I said, if it results in new products, then I'm happy....Much happier than I have been of late with Apple. Just spend the revenue in the right place.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:14 AM   #10
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If you mean larger, superstore style is a change for the worse ( and it is IMO ) then yes....But I won't be frequenting those stores, and I doubt you would. It's kind of a dual customer base if you like.

As I said, if it results in new products, then I'm happy....Much happier than I have been of late with Apple. Just spend the revenue in the right place.
I'm reasonably sure you just post to increase your post count. Neither of your posts in this thread reflect you having a clue about the subject.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:17 AM   #11
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I still find this appointment completely baffling given my experience of Dixons group. It's like this guy has failed upwards
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:24 AM   #12
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Fasten your seat belts, the post-Jobs era has begun, and it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:27 AM   #13
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The other candidates were probably the CEOs of Poundland and Lidl.
Classic!
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:33 AM   #14
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The other candidates were probably the CEOs of Poundland and Lidl.
LOL!!!!! Just fell of my chair laughing!!!!!

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by deanbar View Post
Quote from Tim Cook -"[it's] to bring Apple to an even higher level of customer service and satisfaction."

It's never going to happen if the level of service he's been used to is Dixon's, Curry's and Tesco. He would have no idea of what good service or customer satisfaction would be. If he was the best by far, then I would keep looking. Very poor, Tim.
Exactly he was there 4 years at GSG and never in that time did this apparent greatness of retail do absolutely anything to change the way the shower of crap Dixons operated. You might aswell have put Daffy Duck in charge for all the good it did.. The major point is Dixon remained absolutely dire. Browett accomplished sweet FA apart from probably picking up a nice fat pay cheque!
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:33 AM   #15
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I loath PC World with a passion few would believe, but I still think Apple have made a solid choice here....They clearly want to upscale the retail side of things....
Upscale? Tesco and Dixons stores are about as run of the mill as you can get, some Walmarts are higher end.

I personally think this was a grand mistake of Apple, unless of course self serve check out hypermarkets is what Apple Stores are now aiming for.

After dealing with Dixons group - I can honestly say there may now come a moment when I would never step in an Apple store again - if this is this experience they had to import from the UK, they are either mad, stupid, or both.

Time will tell. However a discount bin or daily specials might be fun for the consumer.... but Apple can no longer charge a premium if this is the expertise they were dying to bring in...
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:34 AM   #16
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If Browett is the 'best by far' then Apple really didn't look very far at all. It just sounds like they've sent out the normal vanilla filter to remove all the eccentrics, the geniuses, the talented individuals, in order to come up with someone who had been to the right business school as a prerequisite that was considered more important than achievement of experience in the right companies. All that means by the way is that he has learned the vocabulary of corporate management non-speak.

All the PR coming out of Apple is identical with that recruitment companies use to justify sending dog employees to businesses at all levels, I've heard all that stuff before. What they do is send their favoured candidate which THEY have selected for interviews with a load of people they KNOW will be unsuitable just so their favoured candidate will look better and get the job.

Of COURSE he looked the best! Those excuses sound so hollow, vacuous, vapid and empty.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:35 AM   #17
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A different view

I am myself a UK consumer and also former employee of DSG (this doesn't mean I like them, as I dont). I completely agree with your statement regarding DSGs reputation for poor customer service - I witnessed some pretty bad stuff whilst I worked there - but this is not a reflection on John. I was working at DSG when John joined the company and then continued to work there for a number of years after so got the chance to witness some of the changes he implemented. John was a cut-throat CEO, he sacked/demoted numerous store managers after store visits that he didn't deem to be up to scratch, he closed and restructured departments to make them more efficient - he also implemented a company wide redevelopment of all the stores which if you have ever visited a new store you have to agree they are a great improvement.

The problem with DSG is that poor customer service has been at the heart of the company for years (well before John joined the company). John implemented so many changes to try and change this and on so many levels he has succeeded. DSG has come out of the financial downturn in a far better position than any of its competitors. Apple on the other hand have never had a problem with poor customers services, mainly due to the nature in which Steve Jobs developed the Apple Retail Store model - so it does have a problem to solve.

DSG biggest issue is the people it employees - which are normally a bunch of uninspired, unmotivated morons. Pretty much the complete opposite to the kind of people employed in Apple Retail Stores.

I find it really strange that so many UK consumers have been quick to make unfounded comments and statements about John's appointment at Apple and some how automatically attribute DSGs bad reputation to John - when truthfully John should be attributed with initiating a process of redeveloping the entire company to try and get rid of this reputation.

I just thought I would share my views as they seem to be vastly different to everyone else's. John Browett was a fantastic CEO at DSG and I think he will continue to be fantastic at Apple.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:36 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by miles01110 View Post
I'm reasonably sure you just post to increase your post count. Neither of your posts in this thread reflect you having a clue about the subject.
And you sir, speak as if you have no business experience at all.

Gotta love all the comments from the peanut gallery here. Do you idiots actually think Tim Cook and the board are going to give this guy enough control to alter the Apple store experience for the worse? I've said it before. They hired this guy for international exposure and his connections in Europe.

For goodness sakes, a monkey could fill this position. Whats Apples retail vision? More of the same please!

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Originally Posted by shaunbent View Post
I find it really strange that so many UK consumers have been quick to make unfounded comments and statements about John's appointment at Apple and some how automatically attribute DSGs bad reputation to John - when truthfully John should be attributed with initiating a process of redeveloping the entire company to try and get rid of this reputation.
Absolutely. People act like this guy is the founding father of DSG and it's culture is an extension of his own skills and personality. He was tasked with turning urine into fine wine and ended up somewhere in the middle, which is a heck of a lot more than most people could do.

Last edited by jhende7; Feb 1, 2012 at 08:42 AM.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:37 AM   #19
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John Browett and higher Customer Satisfaction?

Haha. Good one Tim.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:41 AM   #20
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Nice another fake email!
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:42 AM   #21
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What people don't seem to get here is that a CEO is not a dictator. We don't know why Dixons is the way it is. There are many other people that a CEO is responsible TO. A board of directors and shareholders, for example. If all those people have different goals than you, then you either go with them or find yourself kicked out.

What I'm saying is, if the other people running Dixons want it to be that way, then this guy was a good CEO for giving them what they wanted. If he does the same thing here and gives Cook what he wants, it could be a very good fit.

Or not! I really don't know. But that's the point. None of us know. Having been inside a Dixons literally tells you nothing about how this guy operates.

Furthermore, I don't think Cook wants someone who will change the stores. I think he wants someone who can stay on top of tight retail chains and keep shipping and overhead costs as low as possible. So probably that's what this guy is best at. If they're happy with the stores are running they may say "leave everything alone but tighten our belts on the back end." Or something like that.

What he's 'best at' might not be obvious to us laypeople.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:46 AM   #22
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Just a note on this guy

1. He was the executive officer of Tesco online services for 7 years! So he knows a lot about technology, enterprise, cloud computing...

2. Dixons came out of the financial crisis pretty well. I think his strategy to combine PC World and Currys (one computer the other home appliance) was a very good one! People could do most of their shopping in one go and perhaps spend a bit more.

3. Listen to his interviews online, he is not stupid in fact he is competent!

This is not to say that Dixons et al are good in any way, they use 16 year olds on minimum wage to give computer advice! But they still exist...

p.s. Corrected the link between Currys, Comet and Dixons!

Last edited by DrFreeman; Feb 1, 2012 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Corrected the link between Currys, Comet and Dixons!
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:47 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by shaunbent View Post
I am myself a UK consumer and also former employee of DSG (this doesn't mean I like them, as I dont). I completely agree with your statement regarding DSGs reputation for poor customer service - I witnessed some pretty bad stuff whilst I worked there - but this is not a reflection on John. I was working at DSG when John joined the company and then continued to work there for a number of years after so got the chance to witness some of the changes he implemented. John was a cut-throat CEO, he sacked/demoted numerous store managers after store visits that he didn't deem to be up to scratch, he closed and restructured departments to make them more efficient - he also implemented a company wide redevelopment of all the stores which if you have ever visited a new store you have to agree they are a great improvement.

The problem with DSG is that poor customer service has been at the heart of the company for years (well before John joined the company). John implemented so many changes to try and change this and on so many levels he has succeeded. DSG has come out of the financial downturn in a far better position than any of its competitors. Apple on the other hand have never had a problem with poor customers services, mainly due to the nature in which Steve Jobs developed the Apple Retail Store model - so it does have a problem to solve.

DSG biggest issue is the people it employees - which are normally a bunch of uninspired, unmotivated morons. Pretty much the complete opposite to the kind of people employed in Apple Retail Stores.

I find it really strange that so many UK consumers have been quick to make unfounded comments and statements about John's appointment at Apple and some how automatically attribute DSGs bad reputation to John - when truthfully John should be attributed with initiating a process of redeveloping the entire company to try and get rid of this reputation.

I just thought I would share my views as they seem to be vastly different to everyone else's. John Browett was a fantastic CEO at DSG and I think he will continue to be fantastic at Apple.
If he was so great why then have the DSG group remained in the bottom of every customer satisfaction since Magic Johns turn at CEO? He changed jack ****. If he had of then maybe the DSG group would have been on a level of say John Lewis. Which just to add would spank the arse of DSG in terms of price bettering, matching and customer satisfaction etc. The point is Dixons havent changed therefore you're gonna have a hard time convincing everyone here that the sun shines outta Johns rear.
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:48 AM   #24
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Wow, bunch of super smart, super successful people here! You all OBVIOUSLY know better than Tim Cook! You guys should really email him and let him know he's making a mistake and give him some more advice why you're at it! /sarcasm

Seriously people, YOU think you know better. That's just great. One person is never responsible for a shopping experience. I've said it once, I'll say it again. How do you know that Browett didn't have his hands tied by bureaucracy? Oh that's right... you DONT. If you people think you know so much, why aren't you running a head hunter agency? I love how people give their 2 cents and think they know better because sometimes people are "in the industry". Please, lets face it. EVERYONE here, including myself, is child's play compared to the level these people play and we feel we "know better".
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Old Feb 1, 2012, 08:53 AM   #25
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He's done a pretty good job turning round the Dixons Group over the last few years. They like many high street chains were facing the ever growing threat of the internet, didn't have a strategy to deal with it and were suffering as a result. They're now back in profit and in a far better position all round.

Prices in PC World are often not far off those from the large internet retailers, sometimes they are better. Very useful if you're in a hurry for something. Their staff might not be the most knowledgable and returns can be a pain, but these issues are common throughout the industry. You can't provide the level of service that Apple do on the margins that retailers such as Dixons have to survive on.

Amazing that some people seem to think he was appointed on a whim. Apple will have done their research and spent plenty of time talking to him about what he'd do if he got the job. To a large degree Apple retail runs itself, so I'd guess there was something about him that ticket some other boxes, maybe his UK / European retail experience as international markets are increasingly important to them.
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