Retail Chief Shoulders Into Executive Line-Up

May 1, 2012

Apple has officially updated its Web page of executive profiles with an entry for new Sr. VP Retail John Browett, at once establishing his official presence at the company and also creating a visual pecking order for the secretive company. Browett’s appointment was announced in January, and last week the company officially granted him stock rights. He’s the former CEO of electronics Dixons Retail in the UK, where he was tasked with bringing the company back from near-extinction. On the Web page updated today, Browett shoulders his way into the top of the executive line-up, visually right next to CEO Tim Cook. Previously, the photo for Sr. VP Retail was positioned three spaces to the right of Cook, behind Sr. VPs Jonathan Ive and Scott Forstall. When Johnson left the company last November, Sr. VP Eddy Cue appeared new on the page, to the right of Cook. Now, with the arrival of Browett to the page, all the executives except Cook have moved one space to the right to make way for his photo. But behind this visual presentation is a simple explanation—the alphabet. The execs are listed in alphabetical order by their last name after Tim Cook. Beyond these top executives, Apple keeps its employee organization chart completely confidential, preferring not to focus on levels of bureaucracy. Fortune famously create an org chart for the company last year, but the retail segment of the company contained just two entries.

On Browett’s individual profile page, Apple says he joined the company in April 2012 Dixons, where he was CEO since 2007. The profile also says Browett held “a series of executive positions at Tesco plc including CEO of Tesco.com,” and earlier advised retail and consumer goods clients at Boston Consulting Group. The profile also explains that Browett holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University (UK) and an MBA from Wharton Business School (University of Pennsylvania).

This chart shows how the executive photos have been visually shuffled twice since Tim Cook became CEO last year. Now, Browett appears as Cook's left-hand man, although his positioning is because his last name begins with "B."

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Abcd Efghi May 1, 2012 at 2109

Any chance the alphabet might have played a role in this bit of boardroom intrigue?

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Frmr Spclst May 1, 2012 at 2111

Please also notice that the Senior VPs are listed alphabetically, so Johnson, Ron would not have been directly next to the CEO, he would have been between Ive, Jonathan and Mansfield, Bob.
This is not a hierarchy; it’s a collation.

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Steven May 23, 2012 at 2350

What’s the point of trying to assign some sort of meaning to the positioning of the photos and then in the same paragraph pointing out the the pictures are, and always have been, in alphabetical order?

There’s no “visual pecking order” here. C’mon, we’re accustomed to better from you.

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