Apple announced today that it has appointed John Browett, former Dixons CEO, as Senior Vice President of its retail operations, responsible for the company's retail efforts worldwide. Browett, who previously held the position of Tesco.com CEO prior to his Dixons role, will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook who is "thrilled" to have Browett bring "his incredible retail experience to Apple."

Browett replaces Ron Johnson who left for JC Penny after working alongside Steve Jobs to build Apple's retail stores. He served as CEO of Dixons, a large electronics retailer in the UK, and was in charge as Dixons announced it would close 77 of its 177 UK Currys.digital stores shortly before US electronics store Best Buy launched in the UK. Despite the closures, Browett managed to fight off Best Buy with PC World and Currys, other Dixons owned electronics stores.

Dixons says it will replace Browett with Sebastian James, its group operations director who has worked at the company since 2008. John Allan, Dixons chairman, wished Browett well for the future in a statement, and noted that the company is "in a significantly stronger position" following the "considerable contribution he [Browett] has made to the group."

Browett joins Apple during the planning phase of a new prototype Apple store in Palo Alto. It's not clear exactly how it will differ to the traditional look and feel of existing Apple stores, but the new store will replace an existing one just a block away in Palo Alto and will likely serve as a test bed for future improvements.