What will Angela Ahrendts’ departure mean for Apple’s retail business?
Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president of retail for Apple, is leaving the company in April. She is departing Apple roughly five years after joining the company from Burberry where she held the CEO title for eight years.
Apple issued a statement that said Ms. Ahrendts was leaving for “new personal and professional pursuits.”
As Ms. Ahrendts departs Apple, the company continues to generate more sales per square foot than any other business in retail. Under her leadership, Apple sought to make its stores more entertaining and inviting places to visit. It was all part of Ms. Ahrendts’ strategy to recreate Apple’s locations as community hubs. The company even dropped the word “store “from its banner as part of the strategy.
She frequently spoke about associates in Apple’s stores being trained to not sell technology to customers, but to share with them how technology can be used to enrich their lives in various ways.
“I want to thank Angela for inspiring and energizing our teams over the past five years,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “She has been a positive, transformative force, both for Apple’s stores and the communities they serve.”
Today, Apple operates 506 physical locations around the globe as well as 35 online stores.
Apple was quick to name a replacement for Ms. Ahrendts in the person of Deirdre O’Brien, who has been named senior vice president of Retail + People, reporting to Mr. Cook. In addition to her retail duties, Ms. O’Brien will continue to be responsible for the company’s human resources.
“People come to Apple to do the best work of their lives, and our retail teams show their passion every day, in every interaction, all around the world,” said Ms. O’Brien in a statement. “It is the opportunity of a lifetime to work with, and learn from, such a talented, diverse and imaginative team. I am looking forward to this journey, and to continuing the important work of the People team in supporting all of Apple’s amazing employees.”
“We believe our soul is our people, and Deirdre understands the qualities and strengths of our team better than anyone,” said Mr. Cook. “For more than three decades, she has helped keep Apple focused on serving customers and enriching lives. She’s an exceptional leader and she’s been a vital partner to our retail teams around the world since the very beginning.”
- Apple names Deirdre O’Brien senior vice president of Retail + People – Apple
- Apple’s Ahrendts sees a ‘bigger purpose than just selling’ for retail – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you have any concerns about Apple’s retail business with the departure of Angela Ahrendts? What advice do you have for Deidre O’Brien as Apple moves into the future?