Dixons CEO moves to Apple

THE chief executive of Dixons Retail has announced he will leave the firm to join Apple.

John Browett will be appointed as senior vice president of retail at the second most valuable company in the world, and will be reporting directly to Apple’s relatively new head Tim Cook.

He will be succeeded at Dixons by its current group operations director Sebastian James, who has previously held a number of chief executive positions for private-equity backed ventures.

The 45-year-old Oxford and Insead graduate will take over the £600,000 job on February 20th, when Mr Browett steps down from the board.

Europe’s second-biggest electrical goods retailer, which owns Currys and PC World, is worth approximately £550m.

Despite strong growth at some high street retailers over the Christmas period, Dixons said like-for-like sales in the three months to January 7 fell by 7% at its 640 stores in the UK.

Meanwhile Apple saw record iPhone sales in the final quarter of 2011, with profits up 118% year-on-year.

Dixons chairman John Allan thanked the outgoing chief executive for “the very considerable contribution he has made to the group” over the last four years.

“The group is now in a significantly stronger position and can look to the future with confidence. I wish him well for the exciting opportunity ahead,” he said in a statement.

He also expressed his confidence in Mr James, and Dixons’ new head of UK and Ireland Katie Bickerstaffe, as “two extremely strong retailers” who will continue the group’s progress.

Shares in Dixons rose 55% in the last month alone but fell sharply on the news of Mr Browett’s departure.

John Browett will leave the company on April 20, after a two-month handover period.

In California, he will look after Apple’s retail strategy and oversee the continued expansion of Apple stores around the world.

“Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met,” Apple boss Tim Cook said.

“We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple.”

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