February 14, 2013 9:56 pm

Browett returns to UK high street

The Briton who left Dixons for a short stint as head of Apple’s global retail stores is returning to the UK high street as the new chief executive of Monsoon Accessorize.

John Browett’s appointment comes just three months after he abruptly parted company with Apple.

In his new role, he will lead a privately owned chain with more than 1,000 stores in 74 countries, the majority of which are Accessorize stores, which sell products from handbags to hairbands and have prospered during the economic downturn.

Mr Browett is the former head of Dixons and previously a senior executive at Tesco. He was highly regarded at Tesco, where he was one of the cadre of young executives who developed core parts of the retailer’s strategy under Sir Terry Leahy.

He also won plaudits at Dixons, where he implemented a turnround plan that saw off US electricals giant Best Buy.

Just over a year ago, he announced that he was leaving Dixons to run Apple’s stores worldwide. However, he left Apple in a shake-up in October following contentious changes to staffing at some of the technology giant’s stores.

Mr Browett, who takes up his new role on March 4, will bring his experience of running a big international retailer and his knowledge of internet shopping to Monsoon Accessorize, which is continuing to expand internationally and online.

Although Mr Browett gained some knowledge of clothing while at Tesco, running the Monsoon and Accessorize chains will provide him with significant fashion experience.

Monsoon began life in 1972, when Peter Simon, founder, began selling bohemian India-inspired fashion. Accessorize was added to the portfolio in 1984. He listed the company in 1999, but took it private again in a £755m deal in 2007, after a testy relationship with investors.

People familiar with the situation said Mr Browett’s appointment was unlikely to herald a return to the public markets for the chain, which paid off its bank debt last year.

Monsoon had been looking for a chief executive since last May. Mr Browett became available during the search and clicked with Mr Simon.

Mr Simon said: “We conducted an extensive search for a new chief executive, and John has the skills and experience needed to take Monsoon Accessorize to the next level.”

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