Apple announced late yesterday that it has hired Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, to oversee "the strategic direction, expansion and operation" of its retail and online stores. Ms. Ahrendts will join Apple in a newly created senior vice president position next year.
"I am thrilled that Angela will be joining our team," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, in a statement. "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."
Mr. Cook's reference to customer experience may point to issues with Apple's previous retail head, John Browett, who joined the company from Dixons in the U.K. Shortly after joining Apple, Mr. Browett began cutting costs and reducing employee hours, a move that appeared to be in direct conflict with the company's culture of customer service.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr. Browett said, "I just didn't fit with the way they ran the business. It was one of those shocking things where you're rejected from an organization for fit rather than competency."
Under Ms. Ahrendts, Burberry has seen sales more than double, according to Bloomberg News, as the company expanded into new markets and developed its digital strategy.
In a statement to announce her hiring, Ms. Ahrendts said she was looking forward to working with Apple's "global teams to further enrich the consumer experience on and offline. 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."
How likely or unlikely is Angela Ahrendts to succeed as the head of Apple's retail stores and e-commerce operations?