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Tim Cook's 'disastrous' first appointment as CEO

Karen Haslam | Nov. 1, 2012
After just seven months at Apple, former CEO of Dixons Retail John Browett is now former Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple. According to reports, Browett has been fired.

After just seven months at Apple, former CEO of Dixons Retail John Browett is now former Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple.

According to various reports, Browett has been fired.

Even as his appointment was announced in January (Browett actually began his role in April) the selection (Apple CEO Tim Cook's first hire) has met with criticism.

At the time Tim Cook responded to a customer's email that was reported to have expressed concern over the hiring of Browett. In the purported missive, Cook said he: "Talked to many people and John was the best by far...His role isn't to bring Dixons to Apple, its [sic] to bring Apple to an even higher level of customer service and satisfaction."

Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf also suggested that Browett wasn't a good choice to join Apple. He noted that his experience at Dixons, described as a "more downmarket" retailer wouldn't match Apple's retail operations, writes the New York Times.

As noted, Apple announced the appointment in January but Browett began his role in April. Unfortunately from day one Browett appeared to make a number of missteps.

On 3 April we reported that Browett had revised the company's scheduling practices, meaning already stressed employees would need to work more hours.

Then, in June, Apple received criticism for paying its retail staff low salaries, despite stressful working conditions and long shifts with no breaks.

Just as that news broke it emerged that Apple Store employees would get pay rises. Great news, until news broke in August that Apple was laying off numerous recently hired retail staff. The UK was allegedly the most affected. According to one report, in a particular UK store, all Apple retail staff with under six months of service has been let go, including a group who had just completed their training and were hired less than a month ago.

At the time it was suggested that the layoffs were to pay for the 25 percent pay rises, but a week later, Apple was going back on its decision and hiring them back.

However, according to reports, Apple had been using a new formula to calculate its staff levels at retail stores, which had led to a wave of layoffs and a cut in shift hours.

Then Browett, issued a formal apology and admitted that the company had "messed up" but was back on track, hiring new staff to meet demands.

Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet added: "Making these changes was a mistake and the changes are being reversed, our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve."

 

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