Apple hires Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as retail chief

“Apple has poached high-profile Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts as it seeks to deepen its push into China and looks for new ways to excite consumers about its products,” Virginia Harrison reports for CNNMoney.

“Ahrendts has been hired for a new role at Apple, taking charge of retail and online stores and reporting to CEO Tim Cook,” Harrison reports. “She will start in the middle of 2014. The move comes as Apple attempts to improve its fortunes in China, a market in which Ahrendts has had great success in the past.”

Harrison reports, “Apple has been without a heavy-hitting head of retail since Ron Johnson left in 2011 for an ill-fated stint as CEO at J.C. Penney. Ahrendts was the highest paid CEO in the U.K. last year. By joining Apple she’ll become one of the highest profile women executives in technology, alongside Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook and Marissa Mayer at Yahoo.”

“The company will hope Ahrendts can help change that. Appointed Burberry chief executive in 2006, American-born Ahrendts has been credited with turning around the luxury fashion brand and expanding its presence in Asia,” Harrison reports. “Under her leadership, Burberry’s market value has increased to £7 billion from £2.1 billion. That expansion was driven in large part by a boom in sales of luxury goods like trench coats, handbags and shoes, to Asia.”

Read more in the full article here.

Apple’s press release:

Angela Ahrendts
Angela Ahrendts
Apple today announced that Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, will be joining Apple in a newly created position, as a senior vice president and member of our executive team, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

Ahrendts will have oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of both Apple retail and online stores, which have redefined the shopping experience for hundreds of millions of customers around the world. Apple retail stores set the standard for customer service with innovative features like the Genius Bar, Personal Setup and One to One personal training to help customers get the most out of their Apple products.

“I am thrilled that Angela will be joining our team,” said 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.”

“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,” said Ahrendts. “I have always admired the innovation and impact Apple products and services have on people’s lives and hope in some small way I can help contribute to the company’s continued success and leadership in changing the world.”

Ahrendts will join Apple in the spring from Burberry, where she serves as CEO and has led the company through a period of outstanding global growth. Prior to Burberry, she was executive vice president at Liz Claiborne Inc., and earlier in her career she served as president of Donna Karan International.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, this seems like a sounder move than hiring the guy from Dixons.

Related articles:
Burberry CEO discusses iPhone 5s collaboration with Apple – September 17, 2013
Apple grants Burberry early access to iPhone 5s for fashion show photography – September 12, 2013
Apple’s long hunt for retail store chief continues – January 7, 2013
Burberry to outfit retail staff with Apple iPads in China stores – April 13, 2011

Tim Cook’s email to employees announcing hiring of Angela Ahrendts as retail chief – October 15, 2013
Apple hires Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as retail chief – October 15, 2013
Burberry CEO discusses iPhone 5s collaboration with Apple – September 17, 2013
Apple grants Burberry early access to iPhone 5s for fashion show photography – September 12, 2013
Apple’s long hunt for retail store chief continues – January 7, 2013
Apple Retail Stores in dire need of competent leadership – November 7, 2012
What’s – and who’s – next for Apple Retail Stores – October 31, 2012
Tim Cook takes full control of Apple: John Browett and Scott Forstall out; Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi get expanded responsibilities – October 29, 2012
Report traces Apple Store ‘mistake’ all the way to Tim Cook; shift in emphasis from service to profits comes from Cook, say insiders – August 29, 2012
Reports persist of Apple Retail Store budget cuts, emphasis on revenue over customer satisfaction – August 28, 2012
After being Browettized, Apple Retail touts numbers – August 20, 2012
Apple newbie John Browett brings Dixons to Apple Retail Stores – August 17, 2012
Dear Tim Cook: Apple’s retail focus should be on delighting customers, not generating cash – August 16, 2012
Apple Retail Store chief Browett: ‘We messed up’ with Dixons-eque staffing gamble; refutes layoffs – August 16, 2012
Apple retail chief Browett to get $56 million golden hello – May 27, 2012
Apple grants 100,000 shares to new retail head John Browett – April 25, 2012
Tim Cook emails UK customer: John Browett’s role isn’t to bring Dixons to Apple Retail – February 1, 2012
Eyebrows raised over Apple’s hiring of Dixons CEO to run Apple Retail Stores – January 31, 2012
Apple hires Dixons CEO John Browett as new retail chief – January 31, 2012
Burberry to outfit retail staff with Apple iPads in China stores – April 13, 2011


    1. Apple Retail just sucks. During my time as a Mac Genius, I saw many people that were hired that didn’t need to be there and those that kept their jobs that didn’t need to be there either. I won’t elaborate.
      When I went to a hiring meeting this summer for a new store, we were told that above all, Apple values diversity. We were shown a film about the Apple Store, how fun it was there and such.
      An older gentleman, a retired state Supreme Court judge asked, “Where are all the people over 40?” The question wasn’t answered and we were never called back for the second round of interviews.

      1. Funny, my last purchase at an Apple store was handled — competently and with wit — by a woman who was definitely over 40; had in fact un-retired and seemed to relish working the busy social bazaar

        1. Ditto. I’m over 40, and my local store has several employees at least a few years my senior. Clearly it’s not typical, but there are enough over 40 to make it more than a little snarky to imply there are no employees over 40. I assume the retired judge was making a statement as opposed to actually looking for a job.

      2. I’ve had experiences similar to hannahjs and ecrabb, but it was a valid question that should have been answered. Is there a subtle expectation embedded in the presentation that is supposed to non-verbally send a message that old folks (over 35) need not apply? More importantly, is it deliberate? It would be illegal it it was, but hard to prove.

        That’s why I just laugh every time some Congressional dipshit says “Just have people work until they’re 70” as his plan to cure Social Security. Walmart can only hire so many greeters and age discrimination is rampant in the rest of the workforce.. Most workers laid off after the age of 50 never regain their former salary status.

  1. Oh great, another f*cking Brit. Haven’t they ruined our lives enough already? Isn’t f*cking up iOS 7 by a Brit enough? How about Browett ruining Apple retail? Another fail decision by Cook the embalmer*.

    * Steve Ballmer’s de facto acolyte

        1. You can laugh at the idea of Obama being a socialist all you want, but the fact is that socialism is a certain thing, it has a definition, and Barack Obama fits that definition.

          What he would be considered in the UK is irrelevant. He is, in fact, NOT in the UK. Hello?

          1. No, he doesn’t fit the definition. Not even close to it. If you’d ever lived under a socialist government you’d understand, but of course you haven’t so you don’t.

    1. I cannot believe that someone is dissing Jony Ive…. In the pantheon of Apple only Steve Jobs is ahead of Jony. Do you really have such a short memory concerning what Jony has contributed to Apple?

        1. To certain persons respect, tradition, humility, and charity are just varieties of fork to jab into random eyeballs for a twisted vicarious thrill or a grubby banknote. There is no pride, only gluttony and gloating. That’s the undercrust of the Internet.

  2. It’s suddenly makes more sense why Burberry shot a fashion show with iPhone 5S’s.

    I think this is a smart move, they need leaders who can keep an iconic brand fresh and exciting.

    1. I agree on paper it certainly looks good. Also interesting that people from up market fashion backgrounds are being picked up by Apple. I think wearable technology and related products are going to be an important move in the not to distant future, for those who still doubt it.

  3. She has a proven track record for selling luxury items in China. That alone would make her a very useful person for Apple. She also has a great understanding of how technology can improve the retail experience.

    I think she’s a really excellent appointment and should improve Apple’s retail operation considerably.

    1. Yes spot on that. And good to have her when so many ‘analysts’ are insisting on the rush to market share, what Apple needs is useful market share not share that devalues the product and turns it into Dell. I think she is coming in at the right time too when retail looks good but is slightly faltering and the image is becoming just a little predictable.

      Turning Burberry around was an incredible achievement and if nothing else will make her very aware of how a unique up market brand can change successfully without blowing all that makes it a prized brand. A new direction without blowing out the past one.

  4. The fit does appear to be better. Time will tell if she makes a mark on the retail side of Apple.

    Whenever I check out the Apple Store near me, the biggest issue is that it is so busy. The Santa Clara store could do with increasing its size.
    The best bit is that opposite the Apple Store is an M$ store. Typically there are 10 times fewer customers in the store so it always looks empty. Fun to see.

  5. I’m thinking if an “iWatch” is to be successful, it needs to be appealing to women*. Apple retail will be key to this. Also, there is no doubt Apple stores are “geeky masculine”. Maybe a slightly softer touch, might do good. My sister-in-law hates going to an Apple store- she walks in talks to the first Apple person she sees, goes right for what she came for and splits out of there faster then you can blink. I like to spend a few minutes in an Apple store and watch little kids and older people** become amazed when they first discover something on a Mac or an iPad. 🙂

    BTW, I’m not trying to be sexiest.

    *obviously to men too, but to be really successful, it needs women.

    **I have an older relative that uses an iPad to read books. Previous to this, it was very difficult for her to read because of poor vision. The iPad means a lot to her. The most difficult thing for her is plugging the 30 pin connector in. She’ll get my 27″ iMac when I upgrade. I’m hoping Mavericks will look more like iOS so it will be easier for her to use both.

    1. You really ought to post here more often, as we have an overabundance of highfalutin opinion set pieces and precious little neighborhood and family intel, which is what really matters as the personal computing revolution washes over what once was a bleak landscape defined by bland and controlling corporate forces.

      So great, to have lived long enough to see the captains of industry so profoundly shaken.

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