Disappearing act: What happened to Apple’s Angela Ahrendts?

“The news that Microsoft is opening a flagship on Fifth Avenue, not far from an Apple store, reminded me of a question that has been niggling at me for the last few weeks — ever since the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced its fashion gala in May would be sponsored by Apple, and WME/IMG debuted its all-fashion channel on Apple TV,” Vanessa Friedman writes for The New York Times. “What happened to Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores, and its biggest fashion hire? Where is she in all of this?”

“In 2013, when Ms. Ahrendts was poached with great fanfare from Burberry, where she was chief executive, fashion speculated that she might become the friendlier, more stylish, face of Apple; in her former job, she had been known for her communication skills and charm, and Apple is not known for its female executives. The potential upside of having her as both a manager and an ambassador seemed high,” Friedman writes. “Yet since starting last year… she has largely disappeared from public view.”

Angela Ahrendts
Angela Ahrendts
“Instead, it is Jonathan Ive, chief design officer of Apple, who has become the face of the brand. It is Mr. Ive who will be at the top of the Met’s steps with Anna Wintour, welcoming guests to the gala as an official ‘co-chair’; Mr. Ive who popped up, somewhat surprisingly, on the Vanity Fair best-dressed list last month; Mr. Ive who has become the embodiment of Apple’s ambitions in the fashion world,” Friedman writes. “It’s been more than 16 months [since Ahrendts arrived at Apple], and it’s hard not to think Apple is missing a trick here. Especially if it is interested in casting itself in part as a fashion brand.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Her relative absence from the public is perplexing, especially at something that’s such a natural fit like the Met Gala star-studded fashion event where everyone, including ourselves, would expect to see her front and center. Her elusiveness will inevitably lead to speculation.

SEE ALSO:
Jony Ive and Anna Wintour: Machines can build beautiful things – October 21, 2015
Jony Ive and Taylor Swift to cohost next Met Gala star-studded fashion event – October 16, 2015
Apple’s Jony Ive, Jimmy Iovine to talk tech and entertainment at Vanity Fair event – August 26, 2015

45 Comments

  1. I think she has been a complete zero at Apple. She has done nothing to justify the outlandish pay package she received. This is a poor reflection on Tim Cook. Obviously she has not be used to her potential, or she was overpaid for having contributed so little.

    1. I called it when Apple hired this bozo fashion nut. She loves herself. She loves to do videos of herself, dress up, etc. She has no business. Let me repeat: no business, at a tech company.

      She’s a narcissistic luddite. Kick her axx to the curb and get someone managing retail that knows what the fuxk they’re doing.

      Just another thing Tim Cook has done to add to the pile.

          1. Shows how little you know. We did most of what Johnson did with the retail stores in 1984 with the Byte Shop. My brain is in gear and this entrance exam started in 1980 when I got a job selling computers with the Byte Shop with the people that bought the first 50 Apple II’s from Jobs.

            1. I’m quite aware of the Byte Shop, as I was also involved in Apple retail and we also followed Apples guidelines and used our own ideas that were re-used by Apple.

              My apologies for being so hasty. You’re absolutely right of course, Apple ate it’s children, something I thought they would never do. I remember Steve Jobs saying the same thing about IBM. Oh, the irony. But it was Ron Johnson who led the change, and what Apple accomplished in retail is unprecedented. I know, personally, he is not solely responsible, not by a long shot, but he oversaw the build-out of a retail operation second-to-none.

              What happened subsequent to his role at Apple, is not really something I know anything about. Kudos to the Byte Shop and its staff, and all the other pre-Apple resellers who did indeed come up with s lot of concepts that are at the core of the Apple Store experience.

              Salut!

              dmz

    2. A whole lot of an opinion based on nothing but an outsider’s reading of an oh so astute and experienced tech writer’s piece from the NY Times – A publication renown throughout the world for its incredible knowledge and insight in the tech world.

      Give me a break bro. Let’s discuss your analytical skills and experience before we get back to Ahrendts’.

  2. Recently retail workers became eligible for stock options.

    That’s a huge win.

    Remember the bozo who was fired before they hired her?

    Tim’s being very very cautious with retail. They’re trying to keep it young. Note Phil’s recent “Woolworth’s” quote.

    Also, anyone else notice the similarity between Drake’s last video (Hotline Bling) and recent Apple Watch ads?

  3. Personally I don’t feel that every senior employee at a company needs to be a personality, to have a high profile public persona. Call me crazy, but maybe every single thing Apple does isn’t worthy of media fanfare. It’s not as if Apple are secretive at all.

    1. Agreed. Maybe Angela is just doing her job everyday rather than strutting herself around in public showing how great she is.

      Just because a person is not constantly on display or promoting themselves doesn’t mean that are not doing their job.

      1. As CEO of Burberry, she spent much time in China establishing a successful brand and a larger retail footprint than Apple had at the time. That’s one big reason they hired her. Another is her boldness connecting with customers through social media and the internet as well as brick and mortar showrooms, and running a team integrating those elements to build an even more closely-knit group of loyal customers, deftly using fashion and media to reach out with fresh ideas and product offerings. These elements too were desireable to Apple. They paid her the big bucks not to replace the charismatic Steve Jobs on stage hawking life-changing elixirs, but to replace the bumbling John Browett, who devalued Apple retail with cost-cutting when what was required was more investment in luxury branding and establishing a quality shopping experience. She’s not in the daily news because she has been accumulating frequent-flyer miles making business deals to make a U.S. Secretary of State jealous of her off-stage skill.

        1. Investment in luxury branding? So would you say that the putting forward of Apple as a luxury brand is largely something that she has done? If so, bad move, Angela. Fashion is elitist by definition and you can’t push it too long without alienating people, which Apple has already started doing.

          1. No, I wouldn’t say the luxing of Apple is her doing. It’s the doing of Cook and Ive, mostly Ive. They sought out Ahrendts and a number of other fashion executives in order to fulfill their goals. I’m saying she is likely just doing her job and doing it well.

            Apple’s barreling down Glamour Lane alright and I am not too sure about it; these days, they are even more oblivious to their pro users than Steve Jobs himself was. I like fashion but when it gets in the way of my technical career I am as infuriated as anyone.

  4. I started wondering about her when she wasn’t part of the team that intro’d the Apple Watch. That was the moment for her to shine and explain how the Watch would be sold, as that is her so-called area of expertise.

    I couldn’t figure out why so many people thought she was Apple-CEO material when she was hired, given that we had never seen her function in a giant tech company yet. Now, we’ve seen or not seen a bit and she still hasn’t shown any inkling of why she would ever replace Tim in the future. That little video that circulated a while back showed that she was a “handsy” speaker and would need to tone that down if she wanted stage time at a product launch.

    1. Sounds about right. It’s sad that diversity has to mean putting people in positions like this just because they’re female for the sake of having more balanced diversity. People are looking at diversity wrong.

      They should hire the person that is the best fit for the job, period! Then examine the diversity on how it played out naturally.

      If it’s not diverse enough, the fault is not Apple’s, but the education system. If they want diversity in the work place, then get people interested in those fields at a younger age and educate them so they can show off their skills.

    2. You need skills to “figure.” We don’t know the answer, do we? Illogical and poor critical thinking to just make one up. The correct answer is, “I don’t know.” Of course, we can ask…

  5. The $68M wonder women has done absolutely ZERO. It’s the same old store (except for watch tables). There’s no product to play with on product launch, there’s no fields for business/company names on invoices, the staff is camouflaged in grey t-shirts. Just think of how much could be sold to a packed store if people actually tried to sell something rather than just ride the wave of great products selling themselves. Product launches and the stores are disconnected and miles apart. Looks like Tim got duped for big money.

    1. You are wrong in everything. There was plenty of product to play with on the tables at the recent iPhone launch; same with Apple Watch launch.

      Apple has adopted what many in the industry do for privacy and security reasons, and that is to intentionally not print the customer name on its receipts. I once asked about this at an Apple Store after noting the change on my receipt.

      And Apple has always prided itself in not engaging in the type of pressure sales that many do in retail. I’ve had more than one Apple employee mention to me in a store that they do not work on commission, and do not want to seem like a typical salesperson. I know of one friend who was impressed simply because the sales person actually talked her into buying a less expensive Mac because that was all she needed. So if you want a store that gives you a used car sales type of approach, then Apple is not for you, and most people like it that way.

      I don’t know about Ms. Ahrendt’s behind the scenes performance, but everything you mention is bogus.

      1. The SAME day as launch? I don’t know what planet you come from, but I’ve NEVER seen a new product at launch.

        Privacy? Privacy for what? Give me a damn receipt for the stuff I bought with my name or more importantly for what my company bought. My accountant or the tax dept cares less if I have a difficult time proving the receipt that I’m deducting. Apple knows who buys their stuff. It’s no secret, put my name on it.

        Since when does a salesman need commission to sell stuff. I’m f they ACTUALLY had new product on the shelf at launch, more people would pre order.

        If anyone is bogus it’s YOU!!!!!

  6. I think they gave her free reign for 6-8 months and she repeatedly shot herself in the foot. I really can’t remember being impressed by her or a decision linked to her… ever. The fashion model tie-in at the Watch debut was so so painful. Her videos that leaked were really underwhelming and amateurish.

    My guess is she’s having some growing pains.

    Surely it’s tough to go from being a successful CEO to being the lady at the top of one of many silos who really doesn’t get to steer.

    1. Yeah, I saw the internal team videos. What an airhead. I’ve been served fast food by people who were more professional, astute, succinct, and on-message than this overpaid fashion maven.

      She’s also been a no-show at practically any major public presentation, which is sad considering that Retail is supposed the key interface to the public all the rest of the year.

      Face it, Cook made another horrible hiring decision …. and it’s wasting money on people like AA that is depressing the AAPL stock price.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.