“Following the surprise press release yesterday from Apple that retail head Angela Ahrendts is abruptly leaving the company in April, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a company-wide email regarding Ahrendt’s departure and the subsequent additional role that Apple’s HR chief Deirdre O’Brien will absorb.
The email has been widely circulated and MacDailyNews has obtained a copy. Here it is, verbatim:
I’m writing to let you know about an important leadership change. Today we’re announcing the promotion of one of Apple’s most passionate and experienced advocates for our customers and employees — and the departure of a much-loved and accomplished leader who has played a transformative role in shaping Apple’s retail experiences.
After five years leading Apple’s retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts is planning to leave Apple in April for new personal and professional pursuits. Angela has inspired and energized our retail teams with the vision of stores as a place where the best of Apple comes together to serve customers and communities. During her tenure, the in-store experience has been redefined with programs like Today at Apple, and our relationship with customers is stronger than ever.
This transition gives us an opportunity to reinforce and carry forward the values that make our retail and online stores the best in the world — and our mission to enrich the lives of others. As I’ve said many times, Apple’s greatest asset is its people. And with that in mind, the best choice to lead our team became clear very quickly.
I am thrilled to announce that Deirdre O’Brien will be taking responsibility for our retail teams in a new role as senior vice president of Retail + People. Deirdre brings insight and experience gained over 30 years at Apple — decades spent focusing on the connection between customers and the people and processes that serve them. Working collaboratively across Apple, Deirdre and her teams empower people to lead with purpose and humanity.
Deirdre was part of the team that planned and launched Apple’s very first online and retail stores. She has been a part of Retail’s exciting expansion and every product launch since. She knows the value of the deep human connections that retail experiences make possible — and she knows this is where Apple shows its heart and soul.
In her capacity as vice president of People, Deirdre and her team have brought elevated focus to how Apple inspires, connects, develops and cares for its employees — essential efforts that she will continue companywide through the People team in her new and expanded role.
As we look forward, finding new ways to elevate our in-store and online experiences, forging deeper relationships with the customers who love our products, I believe that our team, at every level, is the best in the business. I am grateful to Angela for all she’s done for Apple, and I’m looking forward to what Deirdre will bring to her new role.
To everyone in Retail, and our employees worldwide, thanks for all you do to help dreamers become doers, to expand human potential and to do the best work of our lives.
MacDailyNews Take: As expected, nothing new was revealed that wasn’t know already or stated in the official press release. We expect more details about what really went down to leak out of the mothership eventually.
Good luck, Deirdre!
Apple names third retail chief in seven years – February 6, 2019
Apple’s Angela Ahrendts to depart in April; Deirdre O’Brien named senior vice president of Retail + People – February 5, 2019
This caught me by surprise. Previous to this, I thought Angela was well respected within Apple. I had seen references to her being a likely replacement to Tim Cook when he departed. I don’t take that at face value, but it speaks to the respect that she had engendered. To me, this seemed widespread. Comments about her from the web followed this line of respect, but after the announcement, that vaporized. Over and over, she was derided as a “nothing burger”, a “misfit” in Apple culture, “good bye, good riddance”. I don’t get it. Did I miss something? Finally, is Apple putting the head of HR into a “real executive post”? What’s up with that?
From what I have heard, Angela was not well respected by many. She did not have any technical ability and it showed. Her videocasts to retail employees were vapid, with no clear goals or direction. Frankly, her moves to redesign retail haven’t paid off. Apple’s online and brick & mortar stores are as stale as most of their product lines.
“I had seen references to her being a likely replacement to Tim Cook when he departed.”
I have never seen such references in the past but that does not mean they did not exist. But if Ahrendts was ever considered the successor to Cook (!), her fate was sealed right then. Cook’s farewell memo is short on Ahrendts but mostly on his buddy O’Brien.
My understanding of Tim Cook is he is rather ruthless and does not hesitate to build a wall around him. And look how he fired Scott Forstall. And, under Cook, we no longer hear, if ever, any kind of opinion or interview by Apple employees which we used to do under Jobs. They have just been silent (or silenced). When Phill Schiller or Craig Federighi was out for a rare interview, it was about the apology for something Apple failed. Not even the shadow of Tim Cook.
I certainly hope Tim Cook is next.
You know it’s time for a new CEO when people play Apple product build games to see who can build the most expensive product.
It just shows you how much of a joke Cook’s pricing is.
To all those who say I hate Cook for no reason and call me a troll, I ask you this question:
IN 8-YEARS, WHAT HAS TIM COOK DONE TO ALLOW THE IPAD TO REACH ITS FULL POTENTIAL.
Answer: Jack shit.
Tim Cook pissed ZeroBraindy off, that’s one excellent achievement, because ZeroDiqwad is lower than slime.
she was an example of what jobs said made companies fail.
“Thanks for nothing?” I don’t think I saw anything that was much improved by her direction. If there was some tangible wow factor on her part that really made a difference I’m not aware of it.
It is really unclear what she did for retail. I did not really see any major changes in the layout at the apple store I typically go to.
Service is still good but no really changes to how stores have been run. We don’t even know how well the retail stores have been performing.
After five years what has been the return on investment? Hard to quantify from my perspective.
Farewell. Couldn’t come a minute sooner. Cant see what impact she brought besides walking away with a boatload of money.
Dont let the door hit u while your leaving AA .. Good riddance
I really think Apple was taken to the cleaners with this hire. Never was so much paid with nothing to show for it.
Wow. Another waste of time and money, another leech, another golden rain into the abyss. Not only has Apple lost its design edge, it remains unable to acquire valid talent in the head offices.
There’ll be some nervous folk right now in retail. Under AA the payroll soared and the sales flattened. Never a good look. Having HR and retail together will make the inevitable ‘restructure’ easier – with a good cull to bring % pay to sales down.
Angela ploughed cash into workshops and flagships – but reduced investment and personnel in key sales growth areas like business by removing dedicated managers. Madness in a tightening market.
I should imagine store teams will remain fairly untouched but I’d be amazed if the hundreds in roles like ‘talent’ or ‘operations’ will not be swallowing hard.
Cashed out. Was just at Apple for the money.
Another bad Cook hire.
I have great respect for Apple and I have generally had good experiences with Apple Stores. But Apple Stores that were established in the early years have not progressed much at all. The Baybrook Mall Apple Store is almost always packed to the gills and it is noisy. The lack of space and the noise makes it challenging to handle transactions and even more challenging to work with the Genius Bar.
Step 1: Add square footage and retail personnel to heavily trafficked Apple Stores. We do not enjoy being packed in like sardines or searching for help in the crowd
Step 2: Update the Genius Bar. While there are many issues that can easily be handled at the Genius Bar, some would be better handled in a private room – issues involving lengthier and more complex diagnostics or remedies, requiring longer and more detailed discussions, or the exchange of PII and passwords, etc. Apple Stores should include half a dozen small rooms to handle these types of issues.
Furthermore, Apple Stores do absolutely nothing to promote the Apple ecosystem. I tried to use the HomePods sitting beside the iMacs, but without success. The Stores do nothing to educate people in the value of an Apple Watch, or how it connects to the iPhone, or handover between iOS devices, etc.
Finally, the cloud — iCloud to be specific. It needs work. Lots of work. And, as many have noted, the base amount of storage included for free needs to be substantially increased.
I could go on. But I will work this with Apple. Perhaps I should send Deirdre O’Brien an email…
iCloud storage should increase for each physical Apple device you buy. I actively use Mac Mini, MacBook, Watch, iPhone, iPad and I get the same amount of free space as someone using just one Apple device?
Ahrendts resurrected Burberry so she was and is a fixer. Apple retail needed no resurrection — her hire was and is a puzzle — so perhaps she felt stifled and unchallenged. She could have been too revolutionary for Apple and got pushed out or she quit for a promising future elsewhere.