UPDATE: Apple just sent us a statement saying Cano has not been named head of retail. A spokeswoman said: “The search is underway with lots of interest and we are carefully selecting Ron’s successor. We have nothing to announce today.”
Although an official announcement has yet to be made, Cult of Mac has learned that Apple has already replaced its outgoing head of retail, Ron Johnson.
Reports on Monday suggested Apple hasn’t found a replacement for Johnson, its highly-regarded Senior Vice President of Retail. But we’ve been told by a source that Apple has already promoted an internal candidate to Johnson’s job.
Apple’s new retail boss isn’t just some suit, though. He’s one of the first retail employees Apple ever hired, a California surfer dude who has climbed from the sales floor to the very top rung of Apple management.
It’s a real rags-to-riches story that should be inspiration to every stressed out Apple Store sales associate or overworked Genius: your work can be noticed, and you too can go to the very top.
According to our source, Apple is replacing Johnson with his long-time lieutenant, Steve Cano.
It’s a great promotion for Cano, who started with Apple ten years ago as the manager of the flagship Palo Alto store, Steve Jobs’s local Apple Store.
Cano was previously tipped as a top candidate to fill Johnson’s shoes by the Apple Retail Workers Union.
Johnson will be a tough act for Cano to follow. Johnson was recruited from Target by Steve Jobs in 2000 to build a chain of retail stores, which Apple desperately needed in order to put its wares in front of skeptical consumers. Johnson is credited with making the retail chain one of the most successful in the world. It is showcased by glittering flagship stores in plum locations, and innovations like the Genius Bar, the world’s friendliest computer repair service.
Johnson quit Apple in June for the challenge of turning J.C. Penney around. “I’ve always dreamed of leading a major retail company as CEO, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help J.C. Penney re-imagine what I believe to be the single greatest opportunity in American retailing today, the Department Store,” he said in a statement announcing his new job.
Cano sounds like a good replacement. He’s ambitious and steeped in Apple’s culture, living and breathing the Apple Store for over a decade now. He joined Apple in 2001 as manager of Steve Jobs’s local store in Palo Alto, Calif., according to Gary Allen at IFOAppleStore. Cano later moved to New York’s store in SoHo, and in 2004 he was appointed manager of the Ginza store in Tokyo, Japan, Apple’s first store overseas. As the company opened more stores in Japan, Cano was appointed regional director. He was named Apple’s first Sr. Director of International Retail and moved to London, where he oversaw a string of new stores in Europe.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.