Burberry has confirmed that Angela Ahrendts will be stepping down from her role as CEO and will be joining Apple as the company's senior VP of Retail. Apple of course has been without a retail chief since Tim Cook unceremoniously gave John Browett a pink slip nearly one year ago. Browett's tenure as Apple's head retail guru wasn't exactly smooth, and one can make a case that Apple retail has effectively been operating without a firm retail chief ever since Ron Johnson left the company in November 2011.
As Ahrendts gears up to join Apple's executive team some time in mid-2014, it's interesting to note that she will occupy a "newly created position" to the extent that she will oversee operations at Apple's retail stores along with its online store.
Apple's press release reads in part:
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."
Prior to Burberry, Ahrendts held senior positions at both Liz Claiborne and Donna Karan. Now seeing as how Ahrendts comes to Apple with a tremendous amount of fashion and luxury retail experience, it's worth remembering that she isn't the only fashion-centric CEO Apple has hired in recent months. This past June, Apple brought former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve on board to work on "special projects."