January 31, 2012, 10:14 AM

Apple hires a U.K. executive to lead its retail division

John Browett held high-level jobs in consumer electronics and online groceries.

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Apple Inc. has hired John Browett as senior vice president of retail. He replaces Ron Johnson, who held that job for 11 years before joining J.C. Penney Co. Inc. in November as the retail chain’s CEO.

Apple Inc. is No. 3 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. J.C. Penney is No. 20.

Browett will start work in April at Apple and report to CEO Tim Cook. Browett will oversee Apple’s retail strategy and global store expansion.

He previously was CEO of Dixons Retail PLC, a consumer electronics retailer based in the United Kingdom.  He had been CEO since 2007, Apple says. Dixons Stores Group is No. 10 in Internet Retailer Top 300 Europe Guide.

Before that, he held various executive jobs at U.K.-based grocer and general merchandiser Tesco PLC, which is No. 3 in the Top 300 Europe Guide; among his jobs was CEO of Tesco.com. He also was a retail and consumer goods advisor for Boston Consulting Group.

“Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met,” says Cook. “We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple.”

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