Apple names European exec to head retail ops

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NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Inc. is reaching over the Atlantic to snatch a British electronics-chain CEO as the head of its own retail operation.

Apple said Tuesday that Dixons Retail PLC’s John Browett will become its top retail executive on April 20. He will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Browett fills a job left open when Ron Johnson left to become the CEO of J.C. Penney Co. in November. Johnson pioneered Apple’s highly successful retail stores, known for their stark design and their “Genius Bar” where Apple customers get technology advice and support.

Browett has served as CEO of Dixons since 2007. During his tenure, the company has continued an aggressive expansion in Europe. Its brands include Currys, PC World, Elgiganten, Electro World, PC City and Pixmania.

Browett has also held several positions at the British retailer Tesco PLC and headed its web site operations.

“Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we’ve met,” Cook said in a statement Tuesday.

Dixons named Sebastian James as Group CEO and Katie Bickerstaffe to the newly created role of CEO-U.K. and Ireland.

Cupertino, California-based Apple’s stock rose $2.13 to $455.14 in premarket trading Tuesday.

Dixons shares fell 7.5 percent in London trading.