John Browett has announced today that he will be standing down from his position as Group CEO of electricals retailer Dixons to join global consumer technology giant Apple.
Current Group Operations Director Sebastian James will take over from Browett and join the company’s board on February 20th 2012, with the current CEO remaining with the business until April as part of the formal handover process.
Browett has held the top job at Dixons since December 2007 and has overseen the firm’s recent Renewal & Transformation programme which has helped to solidify its position as the market leader in UK electricals.
Previous to working with Dixons, Browett had a successful career at the UK’s largest retailer Tesco where at different times he held such positions as CEO of Tesco.com and Operations Development Director.
At Apple he will hold the role of Senior Vice President of Retail and will be based at the company’s headquarters in California, USA.
Commenting on his departure, Browett said: “Dixons Retail is a great business, and with the support of a very strong management team we have made excellent progress in transforming the group into the leading customer focused specialist electrical retailer in its markets.
“The opportunity ahead of me is an exciting one and I leave knowing that the Group has a bright future under strong leadership.”
As part of the restructuring, a new role of UK & Ireland CEO has been created and will be taken up by Katie Bickerstaffe , who is currently Group Director for Marketing, People & Poverty.
Both Bickerstaffe and James have been instrumental in the turnaround of the UK & Ireland segment of the business over the last couple of years and the launch of its new tech advice service Knowhow.
Chairman of Dixons John Allan thanked Browett for his “very considerable contribution” to the retailer’s resurgence and said that the group was in a “significantly stronger position” now from when he joined.
“We are fortunate to have in Sebastian and Katie, two extremely strong retailers with tremendous experience who will bring continuity to the progress we are making as a group,” Allan continued.
“I know that Sebastian shares John’s relentless focus on improving the service that we provide for customers even further.
“Katie, with Sebastian, has transformed our business in the UK into a truly customer focused operation and I welcome her to the board.”
In the 12 weeks to January 7th 2012 like-for-like sales in the UK fell seven per cent at Dixons but with a tough consumer environment within a struggling sector the retailer is outperforming its rivals.
Best Buy stopped trading at all of its UK ‘big box’ stores earlier this month, whilst the struggling Comet business reported an unexpected rise in net debt following terrible Christmas trading.