In its second big fashion hire within the past three months, Apple announced that Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts will be joining its team as an executive member of the team reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook. The former fashion industry mogul will oversee the expansion of Apple’s online and retail stores and is slated to start her new role in the spring.
Over the summer the Cupertino, Calif.-based company hired Paul Deneve, the former chief executive of Yves Saint Laurent, to work on special projects reporting directly to Cook as well. This sparked speculation that Deneve could be assisting Apple with its long-fabled iWatch, although Apple has yet to confirm any plans to launch such a device.
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“She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience,” Cook said in Apple’s announcement. “She has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record.”
Burberry may have been Ahrendts’ most recent conquest, but the executive has an extensive background in the fashion industry. She became president of Donna Karan International in 1989 at 29 years old before joining the executive board at Liz Claiborne in 1998. Her tenure at Burberry began in 2006, and will end nearly eight years later in 2014.
Apple’s retail is presence is a crucial component of its success, so it’s not surprising that the iPhone-maker is hiring top-notch retail industry veterans to spearhead its endeavors. Apple currently offers in house-services such as its Genius Bar, Personal Setup and One to One training sessions in all of its retail stores, and the company has patented ideas to further enhance the shopping experience. One such filing details a kiosk system that would allow buyers to customize their new devices before even taking them out of the box.
There’s no indication that Ahrendts will play any role in product development, but regarding wearable devices Cook has previously said that a product needs to be “so incredible you want to wear it.”