With a total compensation estimated at about $US82.6 million, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts was the highest-paid female executive in the U.S. last year, Bloomberg reported last week.
Ahrendts has had a long and successful career in the fashion and retail industry, and she was pivotal in Burberry’s return to popularity.
As the first female on Apple CEO Tim Cook’s executive team, she’s come a long way from her small-town roots, and she has the fabulous lifestyle to prove it.
Ahrendts, who was hired by Apple in October 2013, was paid $82.6 million last year. According to Apple's recent proxy statement, she was paid about $37 million at Burberry.
Ahrendts grew up as one of six children in New Palestine, Indiana. She was creative from a young age, making collages from fashion magazines and transforming a downstairs cupboard into her own artistic oasis.
After college, she moved to New York City and worked her way up the ranks of the fashion industry, eventually serving as president of Donna Karan International and executive vice president of Liz Claiborne Inc.
Her longest stint was as CEO of Burberry, a post she held from 2006 to 2014. Ahrendts is usually seen dressed in looks from Burberry's high-end Prorsum collection. During her time as CEO, she was given a clothing stipend that was rumoured to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Burberry's reputation greatly improved during Ahrendts' reign. Prince Charles himself helped the company open its new Westminster headquarters in October 2009.
She's had her fair share of front-row seats. Here she is at London Fashion Week 2009 with Burberry model and 'Harry Potter' star Emma Watson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and noted fashion photographer Mario Testino.
And here she is with then Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley, Burberry designer Christopher Bailey, and Nordstrom EVP Peter Nordstrom.
She apparently keeps herself going by downing vast quantities of Diet Coke, sometimes up to five or six cans in one day. 'My blood runs brown,' she joked to the Wall Street Journal in 2010.
In 2010, she delivered the commencement speech at her alma mater, Ball State University. She and 150 friends celebrated with an after party that included a performance by '70s pop singer B.J. Thomas. 'It might have been the best night of my life,' she told WSJ Magazine.
Ahrendts is married to her high school sweetheart, Gregg, who became a stay-at-home dad when the family had to move to London for the Burberry job.
During their time in the UK, the Ahrendts family lived in a 12,000-square-foot estate in the western suburbs of London. Amenities included an indoor pool, tennis court, and a housekeeper and gardener. They have since made the move to Silicon Valley.
In 2014, Ahrendts was named a Dame of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth. The title is essentially the female equivalent of a knight. Ahrendts had met the Queen on several occasions during her time in London.
Ahrendts was key to the launch of the Apple Watch this spring. She's a longtime admirer of Apple, telling the WSJ Magazine in a 2010 feature, 'If I look to any company as a model, it's Apple. They're a brilliant design company working to create a lifestyle, and that's the way I see us.' She left Burberry for Apple just four years later.
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