John Browett Reflects on Lessons From Brief Stint as Apple Retail Chief

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's short-lived head of retail, John Browett, said this week that he had learned "humility" and "become a kinder person" as a result of his six-month stay at Apple.

    Browett's appointment had raised eyebrows in his native UK due to his pedigree as the boss of Dixons, a UK consumer electronics chain with a reputation for cost-cutting rather than customer service. Despite CEO Tim Cook describing him as "the best [candidate] by far", Browett departed Apple later that year before finding a new role as CEO of a low-cost UK fashion and accessory retailer.

    Apple has yet to name a successor to Browett, with the company's retail team currently reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.

    Browett admitted in an interview at the Retail Week Live conference (via The Independent) this week that he "just didn't fit" with Apple's culture.
    Browett said that working for Apple had been one of the best things that had happened to him, and that he had learned a lot about how he is and what he's like to work for.

    Article Link: John Browett Reflects on Lessons From Brief Stint as Apple Retail Chief
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2005
    I'm still mystified as to how he got the job in the first place.
  3. MRU
    macrumors demi-god


    Aug 23, 2005
    He takes a nice photo ?..... ;)
  4. Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
  5. macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    "I've learned how not to treat staff" he said, whilst busily cutting staff on an excel spreadsheet.
  6. macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
  7. macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2006
    LOL, yeah, but maybe they now get a card on the way out? No, that would cost money, an e-card.
  8. macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2007
    Rejected for fit rather than competency? Hmm... I start to understand how he managed to get hired in the first place. This man can twist space itself.
  9. macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2008
    Jonny Ive has done all right. Lets try another Brit.
  10. macrumors 65816

    Lone Deranger

    Apr 23, 2006
    A fact that every UK based Mac Rumors reader knew all along and yet somehow Tim Cook managed to miss. :confused:
  11. macrumors 65816

    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    Making a profit is more a byproduct of the Apple Store, their main purpose seems to be as a showcase for products that had a small retail presence prior to their arrival.

    Dixon group stores are almost the polar opposite to a welcoming experience. It was no surprise that he didn't work out.
  12. macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2002
    How are people like this able to so easily get high paying jobs?
  13. macrumors 65816

    Jan 15, 2009
  14. macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Apple Stores have strayed in the last few years. They used to be a beacon of readily available and innovative customer service and they used to be just as detail oriented as Apple products themselves. This is no longer the case.

    An example: Why would there be an underpowered MacBookPro with FinalCutPro X installed on it if it takes over 2 minutes to boot the app and when you're finally in it, everything slows to an unusable crawl? That's such an obvious misstep in retail that should have been caught by an employee, and if not by a manager, and if not by a visit from the Vice-President of Retail. This isn't just in one store, I've noticed it in several. An error like this would not only drive people away from buying FinalCutPro but also a Mac in general.

    You can see and feel that nobody is heading Apple retail right now.
  15. macrumors 65816

    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    I don't think nationality matters. The problem is Apple did do something unique with their stores, and the only people who really understand how they work are already in Apple retail. I hope they look again at promoting from within.
  16. 0815, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013

    macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2010
    here and there
    Too bad that Apple doesn't take advice from the macrumors forum posters ... On almost every thread there is tons of advice of what Apple should or shouldn't do. Apple could save the failing business when they would listen to all the experts that give here advice for free.
  17. macrumors 65816

    Feb 15, 2011
    I actually met him during the Amsterdam store opening. He seemed like a nice guy, but i'm glad he's out.

    Like he said: He didn't fit
  18. macrumors 6502


    Dec 22, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    Well he certainly didn't "fit" very quickly. Sounds like his version of "I wasn't fired, I quit"
  19. macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2009
    I think it largely has to deal with speaking ability and sometimes being able to muddle through mid level positions to jump to a company at an exec level where you are then able to just tell others what to do. And once in the Exec club, it's rare for them to fire one of their own.
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2011
    You may have the degrees, but how you earn them... ? that is why there is a trial period.

    In my case, I was hired for a company to resolve production problems, the person that hired me was a manager. Pretty soon I realized the problem was the manager himself.

    That manager started to make my life hell. He wanted to make the problem bigger so he could come up with the solution at the end, my job was to prevent those problem to happen in first place. He was a "Superman" manager, I was a preventing manager.

    After a lot of bulling from his side, I created a case and spoke to human resources. Now he is exposed and working by himself on one side of the company while I am working on the other side.

    My point is that you do not know what drives someone. At least this guy is leaving as a gentleman. At least he didn't ruin the company and hiding himself. Many people get hired and screw things up for years, their talent are giving excuses and blaming others.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 16, 2009
    New Zealand
    There's a ton of useless whining and pointless snappier safari comments too.
  22. macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2010
    "Browett's appointment had raised eyebrows in his native UK"
    British understatement for cr****d myself..the horror, the horror! Hara kiri the only honourable option now surely.
    Apple why not consult macrumours in future, we have our finger on the pulse.
  23. macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2012
    Sometimes you just have to learn by doing :)
  24. macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    From Apple Employees that I know.... This guy was a d i c k ( no pun intended ) and he nearly single handedly destroyed the companies retail and customer service reputation.. I cite his "words" humbled etc...

    Do I think Cook and company misstepped? Yes - but - but - this all came down at the same time as Steve's demise -- and seriously these guys are human -- they ( the original Apple team ) took some missteps (let's not go over them again) but Cook has steered this behemoth through some pretty ruff waters so cut him a break guys -- with Ive now fully in I'm confident they will get their mojo back..

    E-specially after that WTH Samsung G4 "event". I mean... Serious... Forget the device -- the show itself was a fricking j o k e.
  25. macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2009
    No idea what he did in the UK, but it was quite obvious that he came from a completely different corporate culture. Still, since Apple-trashing is quite en vogue right now, I think he at least deserves some credit for not being backstabbing and all sour grapes. A lot of journalists would have liked to report that.

    Nevertheless, Apple should definitely look into adjusting their shops a little bit to "local habits". I knew quite a few people that now prefer to go to local authorized resellers, even if the Apple Store is closer, as some of the US retail habits are perceived as fake and annoying in quite a few parts of Europe (and Apple seems to aggressively reject any such suggestions coming from the own retail staff).

    And they really have to look into some mean to address the overcrowding and noise levels. I have two Apple Stores within a ten minute driving range, and it is positively impossible to get any buying support in either of them, no matter what time of the day, and after 10 minutes in the shop your ears are bleeding, the air quality is terrible etc. Even the Genius Bars are so busy (and the scheduled timings too short), that they send people away without solving their problems and never keep the appointment times.

    I know, that is a luxury problem to have, but it does not reflect well.

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