If you want to go work at Apple, “CEO at a major fashion brand” seems to be an increasingly valuable qualification for the job.
Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts has joined Apple’s executive ranks as the company’s Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, joining former Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve as another high-profile fashion alum on Apple’s team. Many expected Deneve to take up the mantle of retail boss, but he has been assigned to work on “special projects” under Tim Cook. The company has been working without a head of its retail division for almost a year, after the ouster of John Browett in late October 2012.
Ahrendts brings with her a strong track record, after successfully ushering in an era of major growth at Burberry following the company’s slide in social cachet in the 1990s. Prior to her work at Burberry, she was an Executive Vice President at Liz Claiborne.
In addition to adding an executive to its team, Apple has now doubled the number of women in its senior leadership. Until Ahrendts’s hire, Avon’s Andrea Jung was the only woman on Apple’s leadership page.
Tim Cook seems to be genuinely thrilled about Ahrendts’s arrival, according to an internal memo obtained by 9to5 Mac.
She shares our values and our focus on innovation. She places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people. She believes in enriching the lives of others and she is wicked smart. Angela has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record. She led Burberry through a period of phenomenal growth with a focus on brand, culture, core values and the power of positive energy.
According to Apple’s press release, Ahrendts will be joining Apple full-time in Spring 2014, after overseeing the transition to her successor at Burberry.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.