Apple’s new retail chief Angela Ahrendts finally takes the reins

“Amid all the other news from Apple’s earnings call on Wednesday — the 7-for-1 stock split, the iPhone sales that helped earnings blow past expectations, the dividend increase — CEO Tim Cook revealed that Angela Ahrendts is finally on her way to Cupertino,” Jena McGregor reports for The Washington Post. “In October, Ahrendts, the CEO of Burberry, was named the senior vice president of Apple’s retail and online stores. She was required to fulfill a six-month notice period, but rumors had suggested she might not start until June in order to collect a performance bonus from Burberry.”

“Ahrendts’ arrival at Apple is notable for several reasons. For one, not many CEOs of powerhouse global brands go on to become SVPs to other CEOs. They’re typically unwilling to give up the power and authority of holding the top job, particularly when they’ve been as successful as Ahrendts has,” McGregor reports. “The move is also notable because Ahrendts will finally add a much-needed female face to Apple’s all-male executive suite, a distinction that has brought the company criticism. For now, at least, it appears Ahrendts will be the lone woman reporting to Cook. And Apple has just one woman on its board of directors.”

Angela Ahrendts
Angela Ahrendts
“Moreover, for the first time, there will be a leader at Apple in charge of both the online and bricks-and-mortar store experience,” McGregor reports. “This is no small issue. As one analyst told Fast Company in a profile of Ahrendts back in January, the traditional divide between the two sides has been ‘a historical failure’ at Apple that doesn’t track with how people actually shop… She is repeatedly commended for her skills managing people, an attribute that will be critical in leading a customer-service retail staff — particularly one that has been without a direct boss since late 2012 and suffered through a short-term hire known for cost-cutting before that.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Let the debrowettization begin! Go, Angela, go!

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25 Comments

      1. No, she didn’t – but that fact that she’s attractive will be helpful in a customer-facing role such as the one she’s assuming. No one wants an executive who’s so blindingly stunning that no man can even think around her, nor does anyone want one whose looks are repulsive. Ms. Ahrendts, from the pictures I’ve seen, manages her looks in a way that is appropriate, and which makes the average person more likely to listen to what she has to say.

  1. What CEO would take on the role of SVP at another company? One that might have a reasonable expectation (or even tacit promise) of being the next CEO.

      1. I think she’d make a great Apple CEO. I think Apple hired her with a CEO succession plan in mind. She needs to spend some time learning the Apple ropes but she seems to have the right traits already.

        1. No, no, no. Happy to see the stores continue to shine, but that’s where the ladder ends. Remember what Our Steve said:Because what’s the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself? So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy. John Akers at IBM is the consummate example. Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they’re no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t. Look at Microsoft, who’s running Microsoft? (interviewer: Steve Ballmer.) Right, the sales guy. Case closed. And that’s what happened at Apple, as well.
          http://stevejobsdailyquote.com/2013/05/04/monopolies/

    1. Hmmm. CEO of a $6.42 billion company, or Senior VP of a $508 billion company.

      There is a major difference between being the biggest fish in a tiny pond, and one of the 8 biggest fish in a rather large lake.

  2. Well Angela, it is about freakin’ time you got here. Everyone expects big things from you, so don’t let us down. Also, don’t f__k things up, but keep making the buying experience better.

    1. I’m still not sold on her. Fashion is not Apple. Its a whole other ball of wax. I could be wrong , but I don’t see this being a good fit. .Apple doesn’t need to be turned around which is what she did at Burberry . Apple needs better salespeople and NEW product. They need to start releasing things in the summer like Jobs always did. The reason Apple only has 30% sales in the US is that people are waiting for those new products

      1. In the summer? Out of seven generations of iPhone models so far, three were released in the fall. None of the iPod models came out in the summer (February, March, but mostly September). iMacs came at various times (MacWorld in January, also February, late August), MBs and MBPs also all over the calendar. None of the iPad models were launched in the summer (February, April, October, November…).

        If we go back in history to the time of the MacWorld shows, then vast majority of Apple products were released in January.

        I’m not sure what is the special value of releasing products in the summer, when large percentage of population takes vacations and doesn’t pay much attention to media.

        Let us see what Ahrendts does. Her track record is a perfect match. Apple is deeply aspirational brand, much like Burberry is now. She knows the importance of protecting the value of the brand and the ways of doing it. She should be a great fit, and if Jobs were alive, I’m sure he would have loved her.

  3. I am so happy she’s joining Apple. She is an excellent and creative manager. When Jobs opened the stores they were cool and had great staff. That is no longer true. They have too many employees and most if them are close to worthless. Now that will change.

  4. Naturally the preponderance of Apple retail stores are in the US, but only 30% of Apple’s business presently comes from the US. The worldwide opportunity for Apple’s growth “runway” is staggering. For example, there are more iPhones in China now than in the US, yet Apple has only 13 stores in greater China. Burberry has around 70 stores there, so I am certain Angela can be very instrumental in rapid expansion as China Mobile rolls out its 4G network to more and more cities all around greater China. Welcome Angela, and best wishes on growing Apple to be the first $1 trillion company.

    1. It can’t have escaped Tim Cook’s attention that Angela knows the Chinese market very well and treats it seriously. Some people imagine China to be a poor country, but there are very large numbers of affluent Chinese who are keen to spend money on aspirational brands. Angela knows how to reach out to those customers.

      When you add in the fact that she did a brilliant job of integrating technology into Burberry’s retail operation, I think we can look forward to some truly innovative changes to the Apple retail experience combined with a substantial improvement to Apple’s bottom line.

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