- Apple announced on Tuesday that its retail chief, Angela Ahrendts, would leave the company in April.
- Deirdre O’Brien, who heads up Apple’s human-resources department, is taking over retail and will report directly to CEO Tim Cook.
- Business Insider has obtained the internal memo Apple sent retail employees announcing the management shakeup. You can read it below.
There’s been a shakeup in Apple’s executive ranks.
Apple’s head of retail, Angela Ahrendts, is out. Taking her place is Deirdre O’Brien, who leads Apple’s human-resources division and is adding retail to her workload. Now the 30-year Apple veteran is in charge of 70,000 retail employees in over 500 stores across the world.
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday addressed the change in an email to employees, which Business Insider has obtained.
“After five years leading Apple’s retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts is planning to leave Apple in April for new personal and professional pursuits,” said the letter, which was signed “Tim.”
He continued: “Angela has inspired and energised our retail teams with the vision of stores as a place where the best of Apple comes together to serve customers and communities. During her tenure, the in-store experience has been redefined with programs like Today at Apple, and our relationship with customers is stronger than ever.”
He also noted that O’Brien has been involved with Apple’s retail business since the first store opened in 2001.
“Deirdre was part of the team that planned and launched Apple’s very first online and retail stores,” Cook wrote in the email. “She has been a part of Retail’s exciting expansion and every product launch since.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the memo.
Ahrendts’ exit comes after five years of change in Apple’s retail division. She integrated the online and physical stores, added classes, and spearheaded a major redesign.
But she leaves amid sluggish iPhone sales and criticism that Apple Stores are overcrowded and hectic.
Here’s the full note sent to retail employees:
I’m writing to let you know about an important leadership change. Today we’re announcing the promotion of one of Apple’s most passionate and experienced advocates for our customers and employees – and the departure of a much-loved and accomplished leader who has played a transformative role in shaping Apple’s retail experiences.
After five years leading Apple’s retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts is planning to leave Apple in April for new personal and professional pursuits. Angela has inspired and energised our retail teams with the vision of stores as a place where the best of Apple comes together to serve customers and communities. During her tenure, the in-store experience has been redefined with programs like Today at Apple, and our relationship with customers is stronger than ever.
This transition gives us an opportunity to reinforce and carry forward the values that make our retail and online stores the best in the world – and our mission to enrich the lives of others. As I’ve said many times, Apple’s greatest asset is its people. And with that in mind, the best choice to lead our team became clear very quickly.
I am thrilled to announce that Deirdre O’Brien will be taking responsibility for our retail teams in a new role as senior vice president of Retail + People. Deirdre brings insight and experience gained over 30 years at Apple – decades spent focusing on the connection between customers and the people and processes that serve them. Working collaboratively across Apple, Deirdre and her teams empower people to lead with purpose and humanity.
Deirdre was part of the team that planned and launched Apple’s very first online and retail stores. She has been a part of Retail’s exciting expansion and every product launch since. She knows the value of the deep human connections that retail experiences make possible – and she knows this is where Apple shows its heart and soul.
In her capacity as vice president of People, Deirdre and her team have brought elevated focus to how Apple inspires, connects, develops and cares for its employees – essential efforts that she will continue companywide through the People team in her new and expanded role.
As we look forward, finding new ways to elevate our in-store and online experiences, forging deeper relationships with the customers who love our products, I believe that our team, at every level, is the best in the business. I am grateful to Angela for all she’s done for Apple, and I’m looking forward to what Deirdre will bring to her new role.
To everyone in Retail, and our employees worldwide, thanks for all you do to help dreamers become doers, to expand human potential and to do the best work of our lives.
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