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Report: Apple looking for retail chief with international experience

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As Apple (s AAPL) continues its search for a replacement for outgoing retail chief Ron Johnson, the company is specifically looking to hire someone based outside the U.S., a Wall Street Journal report said Tuesday.

The WSJ (s nws) has heard from unnamed sources that executive search firm Egon Zehnder International was selected by Apple because it wants to “consider executives who are based abroad.” The report also says CEO Steve Jobs was “extensively involved” in picking Egon Zehnder.

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After 10 years as the VP of retail operations for Apple, during which he opened more than 300 Apple Stores, Johnson is set to become the CEO of clothing retailer JC Penney (s jcp) on Nov. 1.

The company’s iconic shops did $9 billion in sales worldwide last year, and that number is likely to go even higher this year. In the most recent quarter, Apple said stores accounted for $3.5 billion in revenue. And the company continues to open additional sites.

In Apple’s most recent earnings call, COO Tim Cook acknowledged that the stores that did the highest average revenue and saw the highest foot traffic were abroad, and more specifically, were in China. The company will continue to add stores outside the U.S., so it’s very reasonable that Apple would look to candidates who have experience in retail markets outside North America.

Thumbnail courtesy of  Flickr user jardenberg