Apple Refusing To Hire New Retail Chief From Within, But What About Ron Johnson?

Apple-Store-bellevue-flood

Apple needs its Retail ‘OG’ back.

Apple has been without a head of retail for nearly a year. Since John Browett was hired and quickly fired last year, Tim Cook has been in charge of the company’s retail operations. Apple has made it clear that it’s on the hunt for a new executive to fill the role, but there hasn’t been any candidates to fit the bill.

While Apple does occasionally make high-profile hires from other companies, promotions often happen from the inside. Tim Cook himself is an example. He was Chief Operations Officer before Steve Jobs died and made him CEO.

As Apple continues to seek a new retail leader, don’t expect the position to be filled by someone currently on Apple’s roster. But that doesn’t necessarily rule out former employees.

The Wall Street Journal has published a doom and gloom piece on Apple Retail titled, “Apple Stores Suffer From Sameness.” The main point of the article is that Apple reported the first slip in retail sales since 2009 last quarter. And the short tenure of Browett highlighted how difficult it is for executives to work within Apple after coming in from the outside. When Browett was in charge, customer satisfaction took a backseat to sales and cutting operating costs. That kind of typical business attitude doesn’t usually work at Apple.

There are good people at Apple who are currently running retail, but the higher-ups are still looking outside for some reason. “Apple doesn’t consider internal candidates to be an option” for the retail head position, according to the Journal.

Ron Johnson helped build the original Apple Store with Steve Jobs, and no one knows the ‘Apple way’ for retail like he does. After leaving Apple to be the CEO of JC Penny, Johnson failed at turning the company around because of the very reasons that made him successful at Apple. If Apple refuses to promote any of its mid-level retail execs, maybe it should get its old boss back.

Johnson was fired from JC Penny back in April, and no one knows what he’s up to now. Perhaps a return to home is in order?

  • Mahler12x

    Couldn’t agree more. Johnson was forced out of JCPenney because, as he found out, the American public is still addicted to being duped into thinking they’re getting good deals. “Gee, here’s a jacket for $35. You know what would convince me I should buy it? Make the original price $80 then mark it down as a “sale” to $35.” My brother-in-law has worked for Penney’s for years and told me the first thing they did after Johnson’s ousting was go around changing price tags. All of them increased. Then, the red “Sale” tags were broken out.

    The era of Fed credit expansion and easy money has warped the public’s sense of actual value. Johnson wanted to bring sanity back to JCPenney and failed because reality and fairness weren’t desired by the typical Penney’s clientele. Some people just like the PERCEPTION of value over ACTUAL value.

    Anyway, I agree with Alex, I sincerely hope Apple brings Johnson back. He did a brilliant job and could get the retail stores back to form.

  • iSteve

    Please Tim, bring Ron back to our Retail stores. He is the only one who can drive craziness to our stores.

  • MattGodfrey

    I think the Apple Stores still look incredible, especially in comparison to regular stores. The new Santa Monica one was particularly jaw dropping.

    I do think they could improve though. I feel like the window displays have become really insipid over the past few years, I’m sure I used to stop and stare at them, which never happens now.

    Also, I understand that accessories will always take a backseat to their main products, but I do really dislike how condensed they are at the back of most of the stores. When the store is busy and you have 100 different products squished together in one small space, it can be really annoying to look for things when you have people in the way or you feel in the way of others.

    For people who have no need for a new Mac/iPad/iPhone/iPod and take a slightly more interest in Apple than your regular consumer, accessories play a more important role as it’s the only area that will have new products to browse. It should definitely be taken more seriously!

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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