9to5Mac is reporting that Apple recently poached former Levi Strauss executive Enrique Atienza to join its retail team. Atienza will reportedly join Apple as a director for the company's US retail operations.
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.
Bear in mind that this is not the Senior VP of Retail position originally held by Ron Johnson and later by John Browett. That search remains ongoing, and last we heard, Apple is looking to hire someone with a tremendous amount of retail experience at the international level.
As for Atienza, he spent the last three years at Levi Strauss after a nearly 10-year stint at Walt Disney where he held a number of retail-oriented positions.
During Atienza's tenure at Levi Strauss, his position was that of "Senior Vice President Retail Americas and Global Store Operations and Training COE."
According to Atienza's LinkedIn profile -- which confirms that he now works for Apple -- his responsibilities at Levi encompassed the following:
Leads the retail strategic development and execution to ensure that revenue, productivity, level 1 profitability and customer experience goals are achieved within the Americas region.
Leads company own stores and franchise management for the Americas region, and asset/execution controls for license & distributorships. Develop strategic direction and lead pan brand stores, store operations, training, maintenance, construction, real estate and merchandising in the Americas region.
With rumors pointing to Apple to shipping two new iPhone models this fall, Atienza will likely have to hit the ground running, especially in light of reports that Apple is hoping to increase the percentage of iPhone sales that occur at Apple retail stores.