Ex-Retail Chief Admits: ‘I Just Didn’t Fit’

March 15, 2013

The man who briefly held the reins of Apple’s retail stores last year has admitted that he didn’t fit the company’s culture, but during an interview also said the experience had made him a “kinder” person. John Browett made the brief remarks during an on-stage interview at the Retail Week Live 2013 conference in London this week. He held the position of Sr. VP Retail for six months after Ron Johnson resigned in early 2012 to head JC Penney. When asked about his Apple experience, Browett said Apple was was a “great company” and had a “great culture.” He acknowledged bumping into that iconic culture by carefully describing the conflict: “I just didn’t fit within the way they ran the business. For me it was just one of those shopping things, where you are ejected from the organization for the fit, rather than competency.” Insiders have said Browett emphasized sales and revenue over excellent customer service, frequently putting him at odds with veteran Apple retail executives. Despite his firing, Browett put a positive spin on the experience. “It’s probably actually the best thing that’s ever happened to me, certainly from a business perspective,” he said. “Because what you learn from that is great humility. It certainly makes you a much kinder person.” Browett seemingly acknowledged that he may have been abrasive while at Apple. “I think the other big thing for me was that it actually got me very clear about how I am, and what I actually am like to work with, and that is a really amazing lesson.” Looking ahead, Browett said his Apple time would be a benefit. “It will make me much better at doing my job in the future.” Browett is now CEO of Monsoon Accessorize, a UK-based women’s and children’s clothing firm.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Throwthatham March 15, 2013 at 1726

He may be gone physically but his business philosophy remains in practice. Before John Browett and even Tim Cooke, we were never told to wrap it up or given feedback about a transaction taking too long, now we are.

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Arnold Ziffel March 16, 2013 at 1356

Friends of ours were buying one of the new 21.5″ iMacs and heard a supervisor / management person come over and whisper something along the lines of “wrap it up” because he was spending too much time working with my friends. This was during a relatively slow time after the holidays were over, so it wasn’t like there were customers waiting. Why in the world would anyone want to break something that didn’t need fixin’?

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Throwthatham March 16, 2013 at 1445

Must have been in our store. I’m embarrassed and sorry.

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Arnold Ziffel March 17, 2013 at 1317

If you work at La Cantera, San Antonio.

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Throwthatham March 18, 2013 at 1622

Sadly no. Another store, so this is sounding like a directive from on high if its happening in 3 stores.

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fight the stupids March 21, 2013 at 1644

Meh. Ron Johnson was never that great. He was at the helm, but the people who really made Apple successful early on were the front line workers. I remember the super long Genius Bar lines, the ‘theaters’ full of sad looking people waiting for their turn. The flavor of the month metrics (Pro Care sales anyone?). I remember Maestro. I remember ‘bridging the gap’. I remember bonuses, and when bonuses went away.

There were no great managers.

There was a great product, a great place to buy them (usually, I remember long lines at the POS too) and there were a bunch of hard workers in black shirts with an Apple Logo on the front busting their asses everyday.

I remember they hired a bunch of Gap managers and the management issues got worse.

Here’s how Ron is doing at JCP. Yeah, he’s got the magic alright.

http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2013/03/21/symbolism-and-penneys-ron-johnson/

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Throwthatham March 22, 2013 at 1130

The ones that aren’t from the Gap come from Best Buy

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Throwthatham April 9, 2013 at 2025

Now Ron can come back!

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fight the stupids April 10, 2013 at 1517

Why would you want him back? Remember his big idea the Theaters? Gone. Steve wanted the Genius Bars, not Ron. Ron wanted theaters. Ron is a smart guy, yes. But Apple doesn’t need him.

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