After more than nine months without a permanent head of retail operations, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has announced that it will not hire from within the company. CEO Tim Cook will continue to run the division while recruitment firm Egon Zehnder International searches for someone to take over, WSJ reports.


Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has reportedly been turned down by several candidates already, some because they believed it would be too difficult to be effective as an outsider in Apple’s strong corporate culture, explaining why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has failed to replace its outgoing retail chief John Browett.

Browett had tried to take Apple Stores in a new direction, focusing on efficiency and sales even if it meant customer service had to come down a notch. He left his position after just ten months, and while no official reason was given, many people believe his short tenure was related to the Apple Maps debacle that was happening around the same time.

Apple stores continue to open, retail earnings stay flat

Apple Stores continue to open worldwide, but retail earnings have stayed flat year-on-year. Some of this could be due to the mystique around Apple products wearing off, but some of it may also be due to Cook splitting his attention between focusing on retail and dealing with overall corporate strategy. The company plans to open nine more stores this quarter and 23 stores by the end of the year.

Possible reduced-price iPhone in September

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also has plans to release the iPhone 5C this year, possibly in September, and many Apple watchers have speculated that it may be the long awaited reduced-price iPhone. If those rumors turn out to be true they would represent a major shift in Apple strategy by going after the cheaper mobile market that it has long ignored.

There are also rumors of a wearable piece of technology, something people are calling the iWatch, in the next few years to give people yet another way to interact with the Apple ecosystem. Apple stocks haven’t dropped, but with so much happening investors would no doubt feel better if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could settle on a head of retail operations so that the executive team can get back to full capacity.