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Summary:

It was apparent former Dixon CEO John Browett probably wasn’t going to fit in at Apple to many of us watching. Five months after his firing, he says his tenure ended over “fit, not competency.”

johnbrowett

We’d already noted this long before he got fired, but Apple’s former SVP of Retail, John Browett, confirmed in an interview this week that he no longer works there because he did not fit in with Apple’s company culture.

Browett led Apple’s retail empire for all of two minutes (actually more like six months, but it was an absurdly short tenure) and it was apparent that the former Dixon’s CEO probably wasn’t going to work out to many Apple watchers — including my former colleague Bobbie Johnson, who noted the cultural differences of Dixon’s and Apple when Browett was hired. Just a few months after his start, Browett started experimenting with a new “staffing formula” that included reduced hours for store employees and cutting back on new hires.

But despite his brief tenure, the Browett episode serves as CEO Tim Cook’s first big hiring error, so it’s useful to examine what went wrong, especially as Apple is still in the hunt for someone to replace Browett since he was fired in October.

Now CEO of Monsoon Accessorize, Browett made his first comments about his time at Apple at the Retail Week Live conference this week. MacRumors has the video. Here’s part of what Browett says in the clip:

“Apple is a truly fantastic business. The people are great, they’ve got great products … I loved working there. The issue is I just didn’t fit with the way they ran the business. It was one of those shocking things where you’re rejected from an organization for fit rather than competency. The learnings there, is it’s probably, actually the best thing that’s ever happened to me from a business perspective. Because you learn humility and it makes you rather a much kinder person … it also got me very clear on how I am and what I actually am like to work with.”

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  1. Shawn Behnam Friday, March 15, 2013

    It takes courage for Browett to admit his inability to fit in with Apple. Most people would bad mouth their former employer.

  2. No mentions of how in-store QoS has dropped, or other effects of Browett’s short tenure?

  3. Hopefully Tim learned from this mistake.

  4. Herb Derpmeister Friday, March 15, 2013

    I would expect that a high-profiile position like his at Apple would have included a non-disparagement clause in either the employment contract, or the separation agreement.
    And I would still like to know why they hired a career cost-cutter to run one of the highest margin retail businesses in existence.

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