Apple retail veteran Bob Bridger is leaving; big changes coming

“Prompted by future career possibilities, and encouraged by the value of his Apple stock, Apple’s veteran vice president of retail real estate and development Bob Bridger is leaving the company at the end of March,” Gary Allen reports for ifoAppleStore. “Insiders say his departure is also likely linked to dissatisfaction with major changes coming to the operation of the retail stores within the next few months, orchestrated by new-ish Sr. VP Retail and Online stores Angela Ahrendts.”

“He reportedly announced his departure to co-workers last week. However, the company has not acknowledged his departure and has not announced a replacement. Bridger’s decision to leave is the latest in a series over of similar moves over the past five years that has drained the company of the retail executives who had a major influence on the chain’s success,” Allen reports. “Bridger’s longevity and influence are unmatched. He was an early Apple retail employee, and is listed as a co-designer for the original glass staircase at SoHo (NYC) and the ground-breaking vaulted glass ceiling architecture used at Palo Alto and others. He literally stood at Steve Jobs’ left hand, and guided the chain through its expansion to almost 450 stores over 13 years.”

“According to sources, Ahrendts is looking closely at how the stores are built and how they are organized,” Allen reports. “Ahrendts is considering major physical changes for the stores, including new seating areas beyond the Genius Bar stools.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
The Apple Watch could push techies out of Apple Retail Stores – How about ‘Apple Watch Stores?’ – February 3, 2015
Apple VP of Retail Real Estate Bob Bridger to retire amid Ahrendts’ overhaul – February 2, 2015


  1. “Seating beyond the Genius Bar stools.”

    I don’t like change for change’s sake, and I think that Bridgers departure will hurt some. But I do like the idea of more seating or bar stools.

    When I go into a store with family or my wife, Apple or other, It sure is nice to sit and be handy for questions while family of the wife shops.

  2. Seats take up more space than the bottom of feets.

    The stores absolutely must morph to handle the changes necessary to effectively sell Watch. Probably Bob wanted Angela’s job. Probably Bob has lots of his own ideas about how to transform these stores. Probably Bob hasn’t been listened to as much as Bob would have liked.

    But Angela was brought in to do exactly this. Chances are good that she’s got in all well in hand.

    Of course there’s an outside chance that Bob thinks the transformation will be a disaster and doesn’t want his name on it. Then again maybe Bob thinks the changes in mind will be awesome, despite his constant prophesying against them, and doesn’t want to look like an idiot when his ideas are shown to be pale compared to the Ahrendts.

    Plenty to speculate about. Things are about to get really interesting in Apple County.

  3. Go to any Apple Store and it is jammed packed with customers. Great for an aapl shareholder like me but it is a not very relaxing environment for customers.
    The stores have performed superbly but I feel they have needed updates for a while now.

    1. There is an interesting intellectual exercise I do when someone big is hired to come in and take over an enterprise-level operation (like Balmer’s replacement, Cook taking over for Jobs, Ron Johnson’s replacements, Meyer at Yahoo, etc.) Step in their shoes and wonder what lead them to accept that position. Aside from the money and the prestige, they HAVE to ask themselves what would they do to take it to the next level.

      People say the stores need updating. I agree, but have no idea what would be done that was big. You certainly don’t want to take it back to what everyone else is doing. They had gotten so much right, and made it distinctive, that I wonder if there much more left to do other than a tweak here and there.

  4. I, for one, would welcome some seating in the Apple stores. Installing seating requires space, something that is very scarce in the mall stores. Apple needs to address the limited space in many of their stores before filling that space with chairs, benches, etc. Many stores have outgrown their space, and need a larger floor plan. My local store is always crowded and there is nowhere to place any seating. It is hard to find a place to stand, at times.

  5. Yes the stores are dated. Apple had some very good things going on in the original stores. The theaters were smart, and having people come in a be taught how to use the software for free, smarter. Now there needs to be more floor space, more items sold labeled with the apple logo, cups, jackets, shirt, hats, brief cases, etc. The small stores are way to small, the larger stores are way to small. Apple is a draw. The Apple store drives business to whatever area it is placed. So, Apple should demand dollars from shopping centers and or malls. If the malls aren’t willing to kick in, Apple should build there own stores in depressed areas, big tax break. Other retailers will follow, then, of course, apple would have bought a lot of land around their store and now be king and add tenants’ rent to the bottom line. At the end or the day, apple needs more re-occuring dollars. so, they need to build their own wireless network for high speed access allow all comers.

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