Almost as an afterthought, Apple also said that Browett, who had started working for Apple only last April, was leaving. Not a surprise, said the experts: Last summer, Browett instituted a staffing-level change in the company's stores that not only was quickly reversed, but triggered a public apology from Apple.
"I was very skeptical when they hired [Browett]," said Milanesi. "I'm from the U.K., and very familiar with Dixons."
Before being hired by Cook, Browett was the CEO of Dixons Retail, Europe's second-largest electronics chain. Dixons has struggled for years, and carries a reputation as a down-scale retailer much less polished than Apple's own chain of brick-and-mortar outlets.
Gottheil cut Cook some slack for hiring, then quickly firing Browett.
"I don't blame anyone for making a bad hire," said Gottheil, whose resume includes 13 years as a product design manager with Lotus, the maker of the once-dominant Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. "I've made bad hires. But I blame people for keeping a bad hire."
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