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A Look at Apple's Possible External and Internal Options for Next Retail Chief

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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With retail chief John Browett having departed Apple just months after his arrival, the company clearly acknowledged that he was not a good fit for the company. Browett's departure was preceded by staffing controversy within the company's retail division amid reports that Browett's focus on profits over customer satisfaction was having a negative impact on both employees and customers.

Apple is of course now once again looking for a leader for its retail division, and AllThingsD takes a look at Apple's options, noting that the stakes are higher than ever with Apple unable to afford another miss with this hire. In looking at possible external candidates, AllThingsD notes that international experience may again play an important role as it did with Browett, given Apple's focus on expanding its retail footprint outside of the United States.
"Apple's next frontier is to really grow the brand Internationally," Neil Stern, a senior partner at retail consultancy McMillan Doolittle LLP, told AllThingsD. "So brands like Nike, Coach, Burberry and Starbucks spring to mind as being 'models,' perhaps, of where an individual might have that experience."

We've been asking around for weeks about possible external candidates for Apple's senior VP of retail job, and have heard largely the same thing, and a few names to boot. They are, in no particular order:

- Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts
- Victor Luis, president, International Group, Coach
- Jeanne Jackson, president, Direct to Consumer, Nike
- John Culver, president, Starbucks Coffee China and Asia Pacific
- Paul Gainer, executive vice president, Global Disney Store
As for internal candidates, AllThingsD cites the usual three suspects from Apple's retail division: manager Steve Cano, real estate chief Bob Bridger, and vice president Jerry McDougal. McDougal was cited as a solid option during the last round, and Cano gained notice after it was incorrectly reported that he had been chosen to succeed Ron Johnson following Johnson's departure to lead department store chain JC Penney.

Johnson himself issued a brief statement to AllThingsD, noting that Apple will likely take its time in searching for the best possibly candidate.
"I think Tim will take his time with this," Johnson told AllThingsD. "The internal team is very strong and capable of running well until he finds the right person."
But for the time being, Apple's retail team will continuing operating under the guidance of its experienced group of executives and report directly to Tim Cook.

Article Link: A Look at Apple's Possible External and Internal Options for Next Retail Chief
 

macnerd93

macrumors 6502a
Nov 28, 2009
678
96
United Kingdom
all Apple needed to do was to send some reps out to a PC World or Curry's to see how bad the service was in their and they'd have understood lol.
 
Comment

RedTomato

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2005
4,049
337
.. London ..
If we're in dream-land then I'd suggest Apple could consider hiring someone experienced at running global front of house for a large, profitable, international luxury hotel chain.

There's the same mix of attention to costs, multiple venues to cover, dedication to quality of service, training, and bringing something intangible to the table.

- Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts
Burberry is known for being chavtastic in the UK. I've never been to one of their shops, but they have rather a lot of discount outlets. Their Regents Street store looks nice though. Seem to be doing well in China, which is what Apple want.

- Victor Luis, president, International Group, Coach
Don't know them, but seem another high-end fashion accessories chain - like Burberry - and obviously of similar interest to Apple.

- Jeanne Jackson, president, Direct to Consumer, Nike
EDITED my former (incorrect) comment. I'll ask others - do Nike stores have the customer service you expect from Apple?

- John Culver, president, Starbucks Coffee China and Asia Pacific
Starbucks - no! Overpriced watery sugary coffee. It'll be Pepsi all over again. Note that again this is evidence Apple are interested in the China connection.

- Paul Gainer, executive vice president, Global Disney Store
Disney mainly sells through other stores, not through their own chain. Bought some Disney stuff for the kids, & it was poorly packaged inside the box. Not what I expected from an operation that had Steve Jobs on the board. But Paul seems to know the value of brand maintenance - more than our unfortunate Dixons guy.
 
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Elijahg

macrumors 6502
May 23, 2005
269
173
Bath, UK
No doubt Apple'll ensure they won't make another Browett style mistake. No one could believe it when Apple hired him... Any Brit who's been in PC World/Currys knows exactly what I mean.
 
Comment

charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
9,632
815
Los Angeles, CA
Hire back ron johnson ?

RonJon left in part because he wanted a new challenge. Going back to Apple wouldn't provide that. So he'd more likely just retire after JCP.

And this article is a joke. No facts, no leaks, no rumors. Just one blog hit whoring by posting a pile of baseless hit whoring garbage from another blog. I can't believe I'm saying this but I'd rather see more lawsuit talk or a run of CES posts like CoM is doing.
 
Comment

iJon

macrumors 604
Feb 7, 2002
6,569
158
I would think someone who understands the Apple culture would be more important than international experience, but that's my opinion.

They know what countries they want to be in, work with people in those countries to build the best Apple Stores but let someone who understands Apple run the retail department. Last thing we want is another Howlett who just doesn't understand.
 
Comment

alfistas

macrumors regular
Jun 28, 2012
191
0
Helios Prime
Perhaps Apple should look for a new CEO while they're at it. Hiring Browett was one of Cook's greatest mistakes and there was also this other thing about doubling down on security and stuff but lets leave it at that for now... :rolleyes:
 
Comment

Glideslope

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2007
6,568
3,692
A quiet place in NY.
Tim,

Bring Ron back. His vision for JC Penney is a no go. It was a great strategy, but my Aunts, and Grandmother will never get it.

He is over the CEO thing by now. His ideas are a still a perfect fit.

The Chinese like him. :apple:

----------

RonJon left in part because he wanted a new challenge. Going back to Apple wouldn't provide that. So he'd more likely just retire after JCP.

And this article is a joke. No facts, no leaks, no rumors. Just one blog hit whoring by posting a pile of baseless hit whoring garbage from another blog. I can't believe I'm saying this but I'd rather see more lawsuit talk or a run of CES posts like CoM is doing.

Actually, a new challenge yes, but as a CEO. Not a Senior VP or President of ....

He is over the CEO stuff now. When I'm working away for a while, and don't quite get the results, NOTHING is better than coming home.

I think Ron is the same. Especially with Scott the Diaper Boy gone. :apple:
 
Comment

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,080
27,662
Hmm....I have a feeling if this hire isn't internal it might be female. While I don't support hiring based on gender or race or anything like that having a female perspective on the leadership team might not be a bad idea. :)
 
Comment

tlinford

macrumors regular
May 4, 2009
185
0
Edinburgh
Dixons.

I remember over 20 years ago going into Dixon's to find out about stuff which as a teenager, I new more about than the staff did! ... DISAPPOINTING....

The British shop experience is bad, really bad - don't employ British sales executives as they know little about products or people!

Oh, holy crap, who runs Jeep these days!!??

(Ives is design, not sales, there is a difference, Brits design great!, Sales crap, the only reason that Land Rover are doing any good, is because Ford allowed the designers to have their way and inserted a good bit of sales DNA)
 
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69650

Suspended
Mar 23, 2006
3,367
1,877
England
They should hire from within.

Didn't Ron Johnson pass on any of his expertise to his key staff ?

It's a very poor show when they don't have a number 2 in every senior VP position. Someone who has proved their worth and can step up when required.
 
Comment

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
10,980
11,998
Vilano Beach, FL
The Disney option isn't bad, they're pretty masterful at creating end-to-end experiences, particularly in their parks.

That's the main difference with simple transaction based retail vs. retail that needs to support education, follow-up services, you know, has more of a hands-on kind of feel. Apple retail isn't just a "store" in the more traditional sense (I'd include Starbucks in that "outside of regular retail" as well).
 
Comment

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,080
27,662
Perhaps Apple should look for a new CEO while they're at it. Hiring Browett was one of Cook's greatest mistakes and there was also this other thing about doubling down on security and stuff but lets leave it at that for now... :rolleyes:

Well from everything we know security & secrecy at Apple headquarters is bigger than ever. Not sure how Cook prevents leaks in the supply chain at this point.
 
Comment

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,925
1,234
Washington DC
- John Culver, president, Starbucks Coffee China and Asia Pacific
Starbucks - no! Overpriced watery sugary coffee.

- Paul Gainer, executive vice president, Global Disney Store
Bought some Disney stuff for the kids, & it was poorly packaged inside the box.

Both of these concerns are off-base. None of these are the people in charge of what gets sold, just how it's sold. It's not like they're going to hire a retail chief and ask their opinion on how to make the next iPad.

And as far as the spaces go, both Starbucks and Disney are excellent outfits to chase after. Starbucks embodies the original Jobs' plan for the Apple store: A place to hang out, surf the web, and be comfortable. That was the plan and it's what Starbucks IS. And the Disney Store is the only store in the mall with employees who are more friendly than the Apple store!
 
Comment

TheAustrianGuy

macrumors regular
Apr 20, 2010
199
352
Amusing

What I still find very amusing is the fact that every single UK poster in this forum who knew Browett's former company said that he's not the right guy and that he won't last long at Apple.

While the main site is rightfully called MacRumors, this forum should be renamed to MacPredictions. ;)
 
Comment

WeegieMac

Guest
Jan 29, 2008
3,274
1
Glasgow, UK
No doubt Apple'll ensure they won't make another Browett style mistake. No one could believe it when Apple hired him... Any Brit who's been in PC World/Currys knows exactly what I mean.

Yeah, but we were told, "Hey, Tim knows his stuff, he knows more than you".

Now, I am well aware Tim Cook knows infinitely more than me when it comes to the tech business.

However, as a UK consumer who's shopped in, and been burned by both Curry's and PC World, this was one topic which we were MORE than equipped to talk about.
 
Comment

sseaton1971

macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2012
431
11
Perhaps Apple should look for a new CEO while they're at it. Hiring Browett was one of Cook's greatest mistakes and there was also this other thing about doubling down on security and stuff but lets leave it at that for now... :rolleyes:

Yeah... Apple should replace Tim Cook, because he has done such an awful job. Really? :p

I agree that hiring Browett seemed to be a bad decision, but at least it was a decision that was corrected.
 
Comment

addicted44

macrumors 6502a
Jun 6, 2005
532
168
RonJon left in part because he wanted a new challenge. Going back to Apple wouldn't provide that. So he'd more likely just retire after JCP.

And this article is a joke. No facts, no leaks, no rumors. Just one blog hit whoring by posting a pile of baseless hit whoring garbage from another blog. I can't believe I'm saying this but I'd rather see more lawsuit talk or a run of CES posts like CoM is doing.

I guess original analysis is too much for you to handle? This blog post is amongst the better ones. It provides original analysis which you can find almost pretty much nowhere. I am not sure why you have a problem with that.

Now if the headline was "CONFIRMED: APPLE WILL BE HIRING XYZ" with no basis in fact, you would have reason to complain. But the post right from the outset made it clear it was simply laying out the possible options available to Apple.

----------

They should hire from within.

Didn't Ron Johnson pass on any of his expertise to his key staff ?

It's a very poor show when they don't have a number 2 in every senior VP position. Someone who has proved their worth and can step up when required.

Well, the point with hiring externally is expansion into international markets, which, not many Apple executives did have any experience with (not even Johnson...consider how much time it took Apple to rollout stores to UK even, which are culturally far more similar to the US, which Apple does have experience with, than anywhere else in the world).

Not sure if hiring externally is a good idea, but I am sure that is the thinking behind looking outside.
 
Comment

mrxak

macrumors 68000
First, Apple should hire a new hiring hiring firm to hire a new hiring firm that will hire them somebody better. Clearly their last hiring firm didn't work out so great.

In before somebody starts whining about wanting Apple to make an affirmative action choice of some sort.
 
Comment

kingtj

macrumors 68030
Oct 23, 2003
2,602
746
Brunswick, MD
I *might* disagree on Starbucks ....

The type of product they sell is rather irrelevant. The point is, Starbucks has a similar business model in their retail outlets to Apple. Customers are always greeted and smiled at, talked to in a friendly manner, etc. Lots of product is moved in a relatively small number of square feet of retail space, and they're always strategically placing stores in upscale, high-traffic areas to target the type of customer that's the best fit for them.

Not only that, but Starbucks and Apple already work together -- including Starbucks always giving out iTunes cards for free songs, books and apps.


If we're in dream-land then I'd suggest Apple could consider hiring someone experienced at running global front of house for a large, profitable, international luxury hotel chain.

There's the same mix of attention to costs, multiple venues to cover, dedication to quality of service, training, and bringing something intangible to the table.

- Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts
Burberry is known for being chavtastic in the UK. I've never been to one of their shops, but they have rather a lot of discount outlets. Their Regents Street store looks nice though. Seem to be doing well in China, which is what Apple want.

- Victor Luis, president, International Group, Coach
Don't know them, but seem another high-end fashion accessories chain - like Burberry - and obviously of similar interest to Apple.

- Jeanne Jackson, president, Direct to Consumer, Nike
EDITED my former (incorrect) comment. I'll ask others - do Nike stores have the customer service you expect from Apple?

- John Culver, president, Starbucks Coffee China and Asia Pacific
Starbucks - no! Overpriced watery sugary coffee. It'll be Pepsi all over again. Note that again this is evidence Apple are interested in the China connection.

- Paul Gainer, executive vice president, Global Disney Store
Disney mainly sells through other stores, not through their own chain. Bought some Disney stuff for the kids, & it was poorly packaged inside the box. Not what I expected from an operation that had Steve Jobs on the board. But Paul seems to know the value of brand maintenance - more than our unfortunate Dixons guy.
 
Comment
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