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January 31, 2012

Apple nabs Dixons man as new retail boss

John Browett will oversee continued expansion of Apple retail stores

By Vinod

Apple has hired John Browett, CEO of UK high street electronics store Dixons, as its new retail boss, reporting directly to new CEO Tim Cook.

Starting in April, Browett will be Apple’s senior vice president of Retail and will oversee continued expansion of Apple’s bricks and mortar business, which pulled in $6.12bn in revenue and $1.85bn in profit during Apple’s most recent quarter. For the fiscal year revenue at Apple stores was $14.14bn.

Browett will replace Ron Johnson, who left Apple to become JC Penney’s CEO.

Browett previously headed up Tesco’s online offering and has worked at Boston Consulting Group advising on retail and consumer goods. He has been in charge of Dixons Retail since 2007 and led the company at a time when it struggled to compete effectively with online retailers such as Amazon.

However he led the company well, and shares were down at Dixons on news of his departure. "He is a very dynamic character and not afraid to take risks," Planet Retail analyst Robert Gregory told The Wall Street Journal.

"One of the things he has brought to Dixons is really improving their customer service. It had a reputation for many years of having poor service. That fits in well with Apple’s philosophy–making the stores a destination where people can go and really get great service," Gregory added in the WSJ.

Browett’s track record in customer service is what attracted Apple. "Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met," CEO Tim Cook said. "We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple."

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"Dixons Retail is a great business, and with the support of a very strong management team we have made excellent progress in transforming the Group into the leading customer focused specialist electrical retailer in its markets. The opportunity ahead of me is an exciting one and I leave knowing that the Group has a bright future under strong leadership," Browett said.

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