A source says that Atienza will be the director of all retail matters for many regions within the West Coast of the United States, and this role is one of the highest ranking retail positions inside of Apple. Several internal and external candidates were considered for the position, but the external Atienza is said to have been the best fit. While Atienza has already signed on with Apple, he is yet to actually begin his management role. He will officially start in October.
Even as an outsider, Atienza seems to have the mindset of a Tim Cook hire. The retail executive led a transition for Levi’s to streamline its global sales approach to be more consistent and organized:
We completely reorganized the way we operate. Previously, we had an overwhelming assortment of product catered to regional markets … 20 different models across the world … leadership in every country … and a local-only, single-channel mindset … [that made for an] inconsistent customer experience.
Sources also say that Apple’s Steve Cano, who some have compared to Apple Retail pioneer Ron Johnson, was given an expanded Vice President role earlier this year. Cano reports directly to Tim Cook, and Atienza will report to Cano.
Sources also corroborate a recent report that claimed Apple is primarily seeking outside candidates for the Senior Vice President role. Apple is eyeing potential hires outside of the United States, but that is not necessarily Apple’s only option.
Apple has not had a de facto Head of Retail since last fall when John Browett was pushed out. A small number of other Apple retail executives have left Apple over the past year, including VP Jerry McDougal.