Apple appears to have hit a grand slam with its latest executive hire, Angela Ahrendts.
1. She’s filling the long vacant role of running Apple’s retail operations. Apple retail is still a major competitive advantage, and a fresh set of eyes on the stores should keep it that way.
2. She was a very successful as Burberry’s CEO. The stock rose as she cut costs and reshaped the product line. The previous person Apple hired to this job, John Browett, did not have a great reputation coming in. Ahrendts is the exact opposite, which is why Burberry’s stock is tanking today.
3. She will likely be able to help Apple with the iWatch. This is the second high-fashion executive Apple has hired this year. Previously, it poached
Paul Deneve, the CEO of Paris-based fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. Deneve, it is assumed, is helping with the design of the iWatch and other wearable technology. Ahrendts should be able to help with fashion/design for the iWatch and other wearable technology. Making wearable computers look good will be a totally different challenge for Apple, so having people with fashion experience is helpful.
4. She’s a woman. Apple has a female board member in Andrea Jung of Avon. Katie Cotton leads communications. It also has a handful of women in its higher ranks, but this is the first woman to be on the executive leadership team as far as we can remember. Technology seems to be a fairly progressive industry, but it doesn’t have a lot of females in power. It’s good to see Apple mixing up its ranks and adding a woman.
Obviously, she has to go out and execute on all of the above, but coming into the job she looks like a great hire.
To emphasise the point about Apple hiring a woman executive, this is what its executive team currently looks like: