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Apple Inc. has named John Browett, CEO at the Dixons retail chain in the UK and a former top executive at Tesco, to run its chain of Apple Stores around the world.

Browett succeeds Ron Johnson, who left Apple a few months ago to become CEO of JC Penney.

As the New York Times notes in its coverage, “Mr. Johnson will be a tough act for Mr. Browett to follow. Along with Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s late chief executive, Mr. Johnson made Apple’s stores into one of the biggest recent success stories in retailing. Mr. Johnson turned the Apple Store, which first opened in 2001, into fashionable high-tech emporiums, showcasing Apple’s latest gadgetry on uncluttered tables tended by impeccably trained staffs ... One of Mr. Browett’s biggest priorities will be overseeing the international expansion of Apple’s stores. Of the 40 stores the company expects to open in 2012, about three-quarters will be abroad, with China very likely to get more outlets.”

Browett served as Operations Development Director at Tesco and often was named as someone who could replace Sir Terry Leahy as CEO, but he left before ever getting the chance.
KC's View:
The Times also suggests that some analysts see Browett as a surprising choice, saying that Dixons offers the kind of conventional retailing experience that Apple has avoided. But others say that Browett pushed Dixons into new directions, especially online, and that he may turn out to be a good choice.

He wasn’t my choice. His was not the name I mentioned when I was having a conversation with the search firm that was looking for Johnson’s successor. (You’d be amazed who calls me, under the mistaken impression that I actually know what I’m talking about.) But I wish him luck...and want to make clear that any drop in service levels at my local Apple Store will be dutifully and loudly remarked upon here.