Burberry CEO to join Apple

Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts is to join Apple as senior VP of retail and online stores as the iPhone manufacturer aims to redefine its in-store experience.  

Ahrendts will take up the newly-created role in spring next year, which will see her take charge of driving the “strategic direction” and expansion of Apple’s retail experience, and report directly into Apple CEO Tim Cook.  

The role is an expanded version of the one former Dixons chief executive John Browett took but then departed from shortly after last year

Cook said: “She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience.”

Ahrendts added: “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.”

Earlier this year Apple hired former Yves Saint Laurent chief executive Paul Deneve to work as a vice president on “special projects”, as the technology brand as part of its strategy to boost its luxury status. This followed the launch of a global brand campaign trumpeting Apple’s design credentials.  

Ahrendts will be replaced as Burberry CEO by its current chief creative officer Christopher Bailey upon her departure. 

She joined the luxury fashion label in 2006 and since then has overseen a period of high-growth with revenues reaching $3.1bn, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

Her tenure also saw her focus highly on Burberry’s digital strategy and in particular fusing it with in-store and catwalk experiences, including the live-streaming of its London Fashion Week shows. 

This culminated in the launch of Burberry’s flagship London store in 2012, which was launched with the aim of merging “the physical and digital, bringing Burberry.com to life,” according to the fashion label.

Angel Ahrendts’ Burberry career highlights 

July 2006

Joins as CEO top revive the iconic British fashion label which had been marred as the luxury fashion brand for ‘chavs’ in recent years.  

January 2007

Despite sales edging upwards, Burberry faces a backlash over the decision to relocate one of its production centres from Wales to China, resulting in the loss of over 300 UK jobs. This is despite Burberry claiming a ’distinctive British sensibility’.  

October 2007

“Compelling” advertising campaigns and marketing tactics, including the dropping of British supermodel Kate Moss in favour of younger models, helps the luxury fashion retailer propel its revenues 25 per cent year on year.   

March 2009

Burberry opens its first UK childrenswear store in affluent West London, after Ahrendts identifies it as a key growth area, following the earlier opening of similar outlets in foreign markets including the US, Turkey and the UAE. 

April 2010

Despite the ongoing global economic woes, Burberry continues to defy the odds recording its second consecutive quarterly increase in revenues, with Ahrendts vowing to increase its investment in digital commerce, while “taking further action to enhance the brand” to drive growth.

November 2011

Burberry shifts the bulk of its marketing spend to digital – following the appointment of Sarah Manley to CMO the previous year – which Ahrendts credits towards a 29 per cent leap in revenues year on year. 

September 2012

Burberry makes the shift from digital first to mobile first, as consumers look for more personalised experiences. Ahrendts notes how the launch of Burberry’s flagship Regent Street Store in London (see pictures), where most items are tagged using RFID markers that can be read via mobile devices, are a reflection of this.   

December 2012

The trend towards younger models also continues as 10 year-old Romeo Beckham – the offspring of David and Victoria – is revealed as the face of the Burberry’s latest campaign, generating yet more brand buzz. 

June 2013

The digital focus also continues with a Google partnership dubbed ’Burberry Kisses’ as part of an “Art, copy and code” initiative.  

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