Apple hires Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as SVP of Retail and Online Stores


In a surprising late-night press release issued just a few hours ago, Apple announced that it has finally found its new Senior Vice President of Retail. Her name is Angela Ahrendts, and she is the [soon to be] former CEO of clothing retailer Burberry.

According to the release, Ahrendts will begin her new role in the spring of next year, where she will oversee the strategic direction, expansion and operation of both Apple retail and online stores. And like other SVPs, she’ll report directly to Tim Cook…

Here’s the full press release:

“CUPERTINO, California—October 14, 2013—Apple® today announced that Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, will be joining Apple in a newly created position, as a senior vice president and member of our executive team, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

Ahrendts will have oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of both Apple retail and online stores, which have redefined the shopping experience for hundreds of millions of customers around the world. Apple retail stores set the standard for customer service with innovative features like the Genius Bar®, Personal Setup and One to One personal training to help customers get the most out of their Apple products.

“I am thrilled that Angela will be joining our team,” said Cook. “She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record.”

“I am profoundly honored to join Apple in this newly created position next year, and very much look forward to working with the global teams to further enrich the consumer experience on and offline,” said Ahrendts. “I have always admired the innovation and impact Apple products and services have on people’s lives and hope in some small way I can help contribute to the company’s continued success and leadership in changing the world.”

Ahrendts will join Apple in the spring from Burberry, where she serves as CEO and has led the company through a period of outstanding global growth. Prior to Burberry, she was executive vice president at Liz Claiborne Inc., and earlier in her career she served as president of Donna Karan International.”

And here’s a video of Ahrendts speaking at TEDxHollywood earlier this year:

A lot of eyes will be on the Burberry CEO when she assumes her new role as head of Apple retail next year. The position is notoriously complex—just ask John Browett, who took over the position in early 2012, and was let go a measly nine months later.

After hiring Browett to replace the popular Ron Johnson, it was determined that he and his vision for Apple retail didn’t align with the company’s. So Tim Cook and team spent more than a year carefully examining candidates for his replacement.