Apple hires YSL CEO to boost luxury status

Apple has hired former Yves Saint Laurent chief executive Paul Deneve to work as a vice president on “special projects”, which could include the anticipated launch of the iWatch.

Apple brand campaign 2013
Apple’s latest print brand campaign

Deneve will report into Apple chief executive Tim Cook, who was recently reported as saying the wearable technology market was “ripe for exploration”. Apple also recently filed trademarks in Japan and Russia for the term “iWatch”.

Deneve returns to Apple after a seven year stint in the 1990s as one of the company’s sales and marketing managers.

Prior to joining Yves Saint Laurent in 2011, Deneve was president at luxury brand Lanvin for three years. Previously he was president of Nina Ricci and also held a managing director role at French design house Coureges.

Apple has not yet made clear exactly which special projects Deneve will be overseeing but his luxury marketing experience is likely to bolster its leadership position in the high-end technology market.

An Apple spokesman said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple. He’ll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook.”

The company is still seeking a replacement for former Dixons executive John Browett, who exited Apple after only a nine month tenure as senior vice president of retail late last year. Deneve is not, however, understood to be overseeing Browett’s former responsibilities.

Last week Apple rolled out a global TV brand campaign that focuses on the way it approaches product design to enhance consumers’ lives as it looks to claw back some of the sales it has lost to Samsung.