CUPERTINO, Calif. (
reached out across the Atlantic for its new retail chief on Tuesday, naming
, CEO of U.K. electronics giant
, as its senior vice president of retail.
Opting not to hire a heavy-hitter from a big-name American retailer such as
, Apple instead grabbed an executive who is relatively unknown in the United States.
John Browett, the CEO of U.K. firm Dixons Retail, is Apple's new retail chief.
Browett, however, arrives in Cupertino with an impressive track record. The Cambridge University and Wharton Business School grad was appointed CEO of Dixons Retail in 2007, and is credited with implementing a strategy that
and helped it weather the economic downturn.
The Brit has also overseen the U.K. retailer's operations in mainland Europe, something which could prove extremely useful to Apple, according to Tim Coulling, an analyst at research firm
"If you look at where Apple has opened retail stores, there's still some room for expansion in Europe, for example, in the Netherlands or Sweden," he said. "Obviously, Browett, as CEO of Dixons Group, has experience in the Nordics, so that should help."
Coulling also pointed to Browett's online background as a major plus for Apple. Earlier in his career, the executive was CEO of Tesco.com, the Internet division of massive British food retailer
"Apple has opened a number of online stores in emerging markets in Europe
such as the Czech Republic and Poland," explained the analyst. "Expanding the retail experience will help Apple in these countries."
Dixons, though, hardly possesses Apple-style glamour. A cross between Radioshack and Best Buy, the U.K. retail giant can hardly be compared to the geeky über-chic of Apple's rapidly-expanding retail empire.
Analysts are nonetheless confident that Browett can make the leap. "There has been a vast improvement in the
Dixons store environment over the last few years," explained Robert Gregory, research director at Planet Retail. Browett, he added, has implemented a lot of Apple retail practices within Dixons stores.
One of Browett's big early challenges will be to boost Apple's presence in the
, fast-growing, Chinese market.
"It will be a challenge, Dixons Retail was a Europe-only company," said Gregory. "
But he has experience of operating in diverse, very different
The Dixons Retail CEO replaces Ron Johnson, who left Apple late last year to run
. Browett, who starts his new job in April, will become the second Brit in a senior management role at Apple, joining the company's
Jonathan, "Jony" Ive.
Apple shares rose $2.40, or 0.53%, to $455.41 on Tuesday.
Written by James Rogers in New York.
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