Apple Taps Burberry CEO to head Retail Division

by Matt Klassen on October 16, 2013

Truth be told there’s not that much difference between selling fashion and selling technology, both speak to the same part of the human experience: the need to feel elite be noticed. So it really should come as no surprise to hear that Apple has hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to head its retail division, a position that has been vacant for more than a year now.

Ahrendts will officially join Apple in the spring, with Apple revamping the position into a newly created executive office of senior vice president, one where she’ll report directly to company CEO Tim Cook as she oversees the operation of both Apple’s retail and online stores.

The hire becomes all the more interesting when one considers the emerging epoch of wearable technology, as the lines between technology and fashion continue to blur and people like Ahrendts start to become the new breed of gadget visionaries.

“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,” Ahrendts said in a statement. “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.”

In fact, Ahrendts wasn’t shy to show her admiration from Apple during a recent Burberry fashion event where she was able to show off her new iPhone 5S several days before it was released to the public. It’s that kind of moxie, and not to mention obsequious subservience, that will play well at her new home.

For her part Ahrendts is no stranger to top level leadership, as before taking the reigns of the British fashion empire in 2006 she has already served as executive vice president at Liz Claiborne and president of Donna Karan International…things that admittedly mean nothing to the technophiles, but speak volumes to the fashionistas.

While the executive vice president of retail position is new, Ahrendts ostensibly replaces John Browett, who left the company last October after barely six months on the job. Before that it had taken Apple seven months to Browett after Ron Johnson had left to take the CEO position at retailer J.C. Penny, more proof of the growing interconnectedness of fashion and technology.

And again with that in mind, nothing about this should really surprise us, as the things Apple needs going forward are a strong female voice (something noticeably lacking on Apple’s leadership team) and a strong sense of fashion (since its abundantly clear the current leadership core of Apple has no idea how to speak to people’s hearts), helping restore Apple’s lost sense of elitism among consumers. In fact, after Ahrendts takes the reigns of the company’s retail department don’t be surprised if your Apple retail experience starts to change, morphing into the sort of glamorous multi-sensory experience that drives many towards the must-have fashion trends of the day.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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