The surprise appointment of John Browett as Apple’s senior vice-president of retail caused shares in Dixons Retail Group — the owner of PC World and Currys — to fall by 5% amid disappointment at his departure.
Mr Browett, a former management high-flyer at Tesco, joined Dixons at the end of 2007 and overhauled the business following a period of under-performance.
And while sales and profits have been under pressure in recent months, Dixons has just seen off the challenge of US firm Best Buy, which this month had to shut its 10 “big box” megastores in a joint venture with Carphone Warehouse.
From April, Mr Browett will be in charge of 361 Apple stores worldwide, an operation which took $6.1bn (€4.63bn) in revenues from the sale of iPhones, iPads and Macs in the final quarter of 2011.
Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, said: “Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met. We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple.”
Dixons moved swiftly to replace Mr Browett by appointing group operations director Sebastian James as his successor.
Mr Browett said yesterday: “The opportunity ahead of me is an exciting one and I leave knowing that the group has a bright future under strong leadership.”