Who is Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s new head of retail?

“From outside Apple, new retail chief Deirdre O’Brien appears to have been a low-profile executive,” William Gallagher reports for AppleInsider. “But, she’s spent three decades at the center of Apple’s operations, personnel and sales.”

“Officially, Angela Ahrendts remains Apple’s senior vice president of retail until April but her successor, Deirdre O’Brien, has already taken up the new post of senior vice president of People + Retail,” Gallagher reports. “It’s a role that has immediately made her one of Apple’s highest profile executives, directly and visibly in charge of the online store, 506 retail outlets and some 70,000 staff.”

Deirdre O’Brien named senior vice president of Retail + People
Deirdre O’Brien named senior vice president of Retail + People
“O’Brien was already responsible for those, though, and in total for all 120,000 Apple staff in her previous role as solely senior vice president of people [human resources],” Gallagher reports. “[Apple CEO Tim] Cook joined Apple in March 1998 —and O’Brien had already been with the company for a decade. After earning a degree in operations management from Michigan State University and then an MBA from San Jose State University, she went straight to Apple in January, 1988.”

“Cook also said that O’Brien has been directly involved in every major Apple launch of the last 20 years,” Gallagher reports. “She’s also an insider, she’s someone who has not worked outside Apple. That has to give her advantages over her predecessors like Angela Ahrendts who came into Apple from fashion and John Browett who arrived from the UK’s Dixons electronics stores.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Under O’Brien’s guidance, may Apple Stores become even more enjoyable to visit than they were at their establishment!

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    1. As an insider, she comes in knowing the system, knowing the people, knowing the culture. Minimal ramp-up time learning the ropes. Those are clear advantages.

      Of course there can be disadvantages as well, but I would imagine that someone who’s been at Apple for 30 years, isn’t all that likely to exit after a few years in the new position. And if she has distinguished herself in the organization until now, she should be rewarded with more opportunities.

    1. Having had years of direct contact with Steve Jobs, she knows well the verve and vigor from which he led. This direct experience, assumably, frames her paradigm like no education or any other professional work experience can.
      This is the 3rd Retail head appointed by Cook, whether she’s the charm or not, she’s the most concretely equipped to lead the with the Apple mindset.

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