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Apple hires Burberry CEO Ahrendts to head up retail, online stores

updated 04:22 am EDT, Tue October 15, 2013

Angela Ahrendts to join Apple senior executive team

Apple has announced the hiring of Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as its new Senior Vice President of Retail and Online stores. The position was specially created for Ahrendts, who will report directly to CEO Tim Cook when she takes up her post in the spring of 2014. Ahrendts will remain at Burberry for the time being while that company undertakes a search for a replacement.

"I am thrilled that Angela will be joining our team," reads a prepared statement by Cook. "She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record." Ahrendts writes, "I am profoundly honored to join Apple in this newly created position next year, and very much look forward to working with the global teams to further enrich the consumer experience on and offline."

Apple has been on an extensive search to find a suitable successor to its former SVP of Retail, John Browett, who left after a series of missteps in the role. Browett in turn was the replacement for Ron Johnson, often credited with the enormous success that Apple's retail stores have enjoyed. The position has been under the care of Tim Cook and remained unfilled for nearly 12 months. Ahrendts' role has been expanded to include looking after Apple's online shopping experience, signaling that Apple is looking for deeper integration and alignment between the online and retail worlds.

by MacNN Staff



  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    Burberry? Wow. I guess hiring someone with tech background these days are no go. Anyone from LOUIS VUITTON interesting in working for Apple? I bet Microsoft is looking for someone from CHANNEL.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    Apple doesn't need someone with direct tech experience in charge of their on-and-offline store presence, they need someone with marketing and customer satisfaction experience.

    Just because Apple is a "tech" company doesn't mean that they need to fill each and every position in their company with someone that has "tech" experience. Companies that are filled to the brim with nothing but technically-minded people don't tend to fare too well in the long run. Companies need people with experience in the areas they'll be responsible for... it'd be silly to put a salesperson in charge of the programmers, or a programmer in charge of the salespeople.

    Do you think she got to be CEO of Burberry because she knows a lot about cologne, or because she knows a lot about being a CEO?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    She turned a faltering, dusty clothing brand into a luxury line.

    She certainly doesn't seem too out-of place at a company whose retail sales presence is built around doing just that.

  1. Cold Warrior


    Joined: 01-01-01

    It sounds like they hired someone with taste and culture. If you can differentiate between good, great, and garbage, and lead people to accomplish amazing things, it's immaterial whether you know your way around webobjects or objective-c.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Apart from her experience with developing a luxury brand, this seems pretty much in line with what Apple's corporate culture is about:

    The Power of Human Energy: Angela Ahrendts at TEDxHollywood - YouTube
    (via John Gruber)

    She's a little shaky, but she seems absolutely genuine, and I appreciate how difficult it must be to put that kind of attitude towards corporate culture into a public presentation — as the CEO of a recently turned-around company, no less.

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this talk is what prompted Apple into trying to hire her.

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