Angela Ahrendts: High-class CEO – not for the reasons you’d think

“Burberry just lost its top innovator to Apple – CEO Angela Ahrendts,” Randy Ottinger writes for Forbes. “Luckily for Burberry, they aren’t losing a leader of a lesser caliber. (And no, that last sentence does not have a typo.)

“The mark of a great leader is the impact they leave behind. And Ahrendts’ revival of the stodgy brand has been impressive,” Ottinger writes. “Notwithstanding the hit Burberry stock suffered since the announcement of her departure, she’s turned the company into a rocket ship. A rocket ship that she’s propelled to a value of $3 billion and a stock return of 300%.”

“But, it’s a basic Leadership 101 tenet, great leaders are always working to put themselves out of a job by developing great leadership capacity in their wake.,” Ottinger writes. “As early as six years ago, Ahrendts may have been considering the day of her departure.”

Angela Ahrendts
Angela Ahrendts
Ottinger writes, “She elevated Christopher Bailey to Chief Creative Officer that year and has been touting him in the press ever since. She claimed to be ‘working in lockstep’ with Bailey and broadened the spotlight to share it with him whenever possible… At Burberry, Ahrendts has left a clear pathway for success and an 11,000-strong employee base of inspired, innovative, and engaged workers who can continue to move the company along this meteoric path.”

Read more in the full article here.

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27 Comments

    1. It would be a pleasure to meet with her. No BS. You either have it ….. Or …. You DON’T. Funny…. I could teach her a thing or 2. I’m a walking dictionary of Apple Computer inc. from 1987-1990….. I’d love to ask her 1 question. What is the difference between a Mac IIc & a Mac IIci. 😉 She knows QUALITY. Any questions?

    1. I can imagine a conversation like this a couple years ago:

      SJ: Tim, I’m leaving the company in your hands for the interim. Find someone to run it long term so you can resume your old duties. In the meantime, do your best, and keep the faith.

      TC: Steve, I’ll do just that, and I’ll take my time about it so I get the right person.

  1. Apple dealings with retail customers has significantly fallen since Steve Jobs passing. Anything she can do to regain that wonderful feeling I used to experience when I entered an Apple store has to be an improvement.

    Retrain and motivate current staff?
    Obtain new mgrs who spend their time motivating & working with floor staff and customers? Something needs to change. The current direction is MSFT.

  2. With every new little piece of information about her, this women looks more and more like Steve Jobsian class of person. Like no-one else, she is so keenly aware of the importance of the brand value, customer loyalty and impeccable client service and support.

    It looks like she’ll be perfect fit.

    1. We need to see if she can navigate the invisible territorial regions of Apple executive space. If Steve Jobs constructed the organisation properly it will be a gender neutral, collaborative environment and she can thrive. But if there are flaws in it, I expect her to overcome them by slapping a new blueprint down on the table. Tim Cook would accept it, knowing that no better candidate for head of unified retail exists. He’d been looking for one, for a long while now.

  3. I have a good feeling about this lady. She’s a real class act. Checked out Burberry’s web site, very tastefully done. She should mesh very well with Apple’s paradigm in design and presentation. She definitely has the chops to take Apple to a whole new level up. Those Apple Store ripoffs ran by Microsoft will look like your Grandma’s parlor next to her Apple Store redesign. Should be great fun to see. Plus, as someone mentioned earlier, Apple’s web site is due for some finessing. She seems more than up to the task. Second time’s the charm as they say. I’m confident with Apple’s choice, she’ll help a lot in undoing the mess her predecessor left behind. She seems like one classy gal!

    1. She’s attractive, but I’m having a tough time, now that some posters commented that she looks like Tim Cook. Perhaps if we saw her on a red ball, I’d get the Tim Cook resemblance out of my head.

  4. Ms.Ahrendts is an active Christian who reads the Bible daily and wears a cross around her neck, so the current government will have a problem with her. She is also 6ft. 3” tall, but does not play hoops.

    1. The Christian angle is a definite plus, as are her small-town upbringing and natural, transparent charm. She’s a foot taller than me, a built-in intimidation tool should she ever need it to nullify the unconscious aggression of the self-important. And she’s a self-described “50-50”, left-brain rational and right-brain empathetic.

      A five-tool player.

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