Ron Johnson, Apple’s former Senior Vice President of Retail Operations, who changed the face of retail with the opening of the first Apple store in 2001, left the Cupertino company at the beginning of this month. Replacing him has become a mammoth task for Apple, according to a new report, with external candidates struggling to meet Johnson’s caliber, which may force the company to promote from within its ranks.Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, confirmed to Cult of Mac shortly after Ron’s departure that “the search is under way with lots of interest, and we are carefully selecting Ron’s successor.” Apple has employed a global executive search firm, Egon Zehnder International, to find a replacement for Johnson, according to a Bloomberg report. But it is yet to find a suitable candidate for the role.
Neil Stern, senior partner with McMillanDoolittle LLP, a retail consulting firm, said that if Apple hires an external candidate to take Johnson’s role, then it is more likely to select someone from a “lifestyle brand,” such as Coach Inc. or Nike, rather than a technology retailer.
However, Stern says that Apple’s search could become so “daunting” that Tim Cook may be forced to hire someone already working for the company.
It seems the company is struggling to find a replacement for its former retail chief, the creator of the revolutionary Apple Store and its Genius Bar. While it was quick to dismiss reports that Steve Cano had been promoted within, maybe there was some truth in the rumors after all.