It isn’t so much the news – who doesn’t know this – but I for one was surprised … James Davey and Poornima Gupta, reporting for Reuters:

Apple chief Tim Cook, making his first high-profile hire since taking the helm of the world’s largest technology company, lured the well-regarded industry executive to fill a critical post once held by Ron Johnson, another outsider who left Target Corp to join Apple in 2000. […]

Browett, Dixons’ CEO since 2007, was previously chief executive of Tesco Plc’s successful online shopping site. He will oversee Apple’s retail strategy and the expansion of its stores around the world, from the current total of around 300.

But as John Gruber says

You don’t see many executives trading up from CEO of one company to senior vice president of another. That Browett is from Europe is a pretty good signal that international expansion is a top priority for Apple retail.

and that’s the point, symbolic – and another Brit is a senior position at Apple. I wonder whether he will move – and if so – will he get a visa ?

Full Article and ThanksApple Hires Dixons CEO John Browett to Lead Retail

Meanwhile :

Bobbie Johnson, GigaOM:

Immediate reaction to the news was intriguing, because it was split down the middle. On one side were those who read Browett’s credentials and the PR puffs. To them, it looks as if Apple has just hired a man who has succeeded at most things he’s tried, and spent the last five years steering a large retail business with more than 1,200 stores through a difficult period for the economy.

On the other hand, for those who know Dixons as it exists in the real world, the reaction was somewhat different: the most common refrain I saw was “Has Tim Cook ever been in a Dixons store?”