Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Now who's going to replace Ron Johnson?

         There's a very big retail job open and few people qualified to fill it. Maybe 30 in the world, tops.

          Ron Johnson was the head of Apple's stores; the retail genius who brought us the genius bars, among other things. He recently joined J.C. Penney as president, and the search for his replacement at Apple is on.

          There are three people at Apple who headed up groups under Ron, but Apple's store operation is global, and the immediate future seems to be expansion in China.

           If you had the responsibility to replace the head of Apple's retail division, what would you do? Would you promote, from within, someone who's completely familiar with the Apple way of doing things?

          Or would you look outside the company for someone who knows the computer business really well, including computer retailing?

          Or would you look outside for someone beyond the world of computers who really understands global retailing --- someone from Ikea, for example, or Japan's Fast Fashion?

          I would guess they're going to choose someone from inside Apple. A known quantity. Personally, I would look outside for someone who can bring new ideas, new thinking. It's way too early to settle for what they already know, and not try to stretch beyond.

        I would look for someone entrepreneurial.Willing to take risks. Anxious for independence. Insisting on being in control. If they settle instead for someone with a "What would Steve do?" attitude, they'll fall behind. That's only my opinion; what's yours?

        Daydream awhile about being Ron Johnson's replacement. What are the first six things you would do?

        I think I'd offer Ron Johnson about three million dollars to come back.


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