The Grand Central Terminal store opening had Steve Cano and Bob Bridger in attendance

Until November 1, 2011, Apple’s widely successful retail branch was headed by Ron Johnson, J.C. Penney’s new CEO. Since announcing his leave in June of this year, discussion has run ramptant in regards to the successor of Apple’s vital retail division’s leader. Under Ron Johnson sat three central executives responsible for the upkeep and success of Apple’s retail business: Jerry McDougal, Vice President of Merchandising; Bob Bridger, Vice President of VP of Real Estate; and Steve Cano, Senior Director of ¬†International Retail Operations.

In early November, a report claimed that Steve Cano was tapped as the successor of Ron Johnson, but Apple quickly shot down this report and provided comment to 9to5Mac on the situation:

The search for a replacement for Ron Johnson continues, and Apple has nothing to announce about this subject at this time.

With Apple yet to announce a successor for Ron Johnson, the above comment still stands true. Apple has been actively searching for a new retail chief and according to a report from August, Apple has been working with world-renowned executive search firm¬†Egon Zehnder International to find their new retail chief. At this point, it also appears that Jerry McDougall and Bob Bridger won’t be running Apple retail as neither of them are running the retail show right now.

So, who is running Apple retail? 

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer, a financial guru, has been put in charge of Apple’s retail operations according to sources familiar with the search for Ron Johnson’s successor. Oppenheimer is obviously an interim leader with a lack of retail experience, but his executive leadership experience is enough to give orders to his new troops: McDougal, Bridger, and Cano – who have immense retail experience. Oppenheimer won’t stay retail chief forever, and is simply holding the spot until the new Senior Vice President of Retail is selected. Oppenheimer’s title at Apple has not changed from Senior Vice President and CFO, he has just gained the new responsibility of the Apple retail division for the time being.

Peter Oppenheimer reports to newly appointed Apple CEO Tim Cook, and is also in charge of controller, treasury, investor relations, tax, information systems, internal audit and facilities functions. We had a chance to talk to Bob Bridger and Steve Cano at the Grand Central Terminal Apple Store launch this morning: Bridger declined to comment about the boss situation, and Cano said “thanks for coming” and walked away.

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