Angela Ahrendts is ‘wicked smart’, says Tim Cook

Macworld Australia Staff
16 October, 2013
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More details have emerged about the hiring of Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as the new head of Apple’s retail and online businesses, as reported earlier today.

Blogger Jessica Lessin (a former Wall Street Journal reporter) has noted that Ahrendts is a big fan of watches and oversaw the roll-out of a high end timekeeper during her tenure at Burberry, a period in which the 53-year-old oversaw a seven-year growth spurt and tripled sales. Her interest in watches has led to speculation that her employment could be linked to the much rumoured Apple smartwatch, though Lessin is quick to assert she believes Ahrendts’ predilection is just a coincidence.

Meanwhile 9to5Mac has reposted the email that Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out to employees regarding the appointment.

“Team, I am thrilled to announce that Angela Ahrendts will be joining Apple as a senior vice president and member of our executive team, reporting directly to me. Angela is currently the CEO of Burberry.

She will lead both our retail and online teams. I have wanted one person to lead both of these teams for some time because I believe it will better serve our customers, but I had never met anyone whom I felt confident could lead both until I met Angela. We met for the first time last January, and I knew in that meeting that I wanted her to join Apple. We’ve gotten to know each other over the past several months and I’ve left each conversation even more impressed.

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.

Angela will need to focus over the coming months on transitioning her current role at Burberry and will then join Apple in the [northern hemisphere] spring. I am sure as all of you meet her, you will see why I am so excited that she is joining our executive team. I’d like to add a special thanks to all of our retail leaders. Your strength, talent and leadership afforded me the luxury of taking the time to perform an exhaustive search to find the best person in the world for this role. Tim”

And The Wall Street Journal claims that Ahrendts was actually offered the position some months ago, “but the announcement was delayed as Burberry weighed a successor”.

The website also notes that clues to the hiring go back as far as 2010 when Ahrendts was profiled by WSJ magazine. At that time, she emphasised that her strategy at Burberry was not to compare the brand with similar luxury names like Gucci and Chanel. ”If I look to any company as a model, it’s Apple,” she said. “They’re a brilliant design company working to create a lifestyle, and that’s the way I see us.”

by Macworld Australia staff

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