John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Tim Cook on Apple’s New Retail Chief, Angela Ahrendts

tim_cook8After going without a retail head for nearly a year, Apple on Monday tapped Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as senior VP of its retail operations — online and off. Coming as it does following the ouster of former Apple retail boss John Browett, who was shown the door after just nine months on the job, Ahrendts’s appointment is a crucial one for the company. Apple’s retail business is a keystone of its success, and, according to an early morning all-hands memo from CEO Tim Cook, there’s no better person in the world to run it than Ahrendts.

“[Angela] shares our values and our focus on innovation,” Cook wrote in a message first published by 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman. “She places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people. She believes in enriching the lives of others and she is wicked smart. Angela has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record. She led Burberry through a period of phenomenal growth with a focus on brand, culture, core values and the power of positive energy.”

Cook concluded his memo by noting that Ahrendts is “the best person in the world for this role.” And, given her pedigree and renown in the retail industry, not to mention the lengthy executive search that resulted in her hire, that’s not nearly as hyperbolic a proclamation as it might sound. Apple can ill afford any further leadership upheaval in its retail business. Ahrendts’s years of luxury retail industry experience, and her understanding of Apple’s philosophy, suggest that’s no longer a danger. As Ahrendts said in a 2010 interview with The Wall Street Journal, “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.”

The memo in full, below:

Team,

I am thrilled to announce that Angela Ahrendts will be joining Apple as a senior vice president and member of our executive team, reporting directly to me. Angela is currently the CEO of Burberry.

She will lead both our retail and online teams. I have wanted one person to lead both of these teams for some time because I believe it will better serve our customers, but I had never met anyone whom I felt confident could lead both until I met Angela. We met for the first time last January, and I knew in that meeting that I wanted her to join Apple. We’ve gotten to know each other over the past several months and I’ve left each conversation even more impressed.

She shares our values and our focus on innovation. She places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people. She believes in enriching the lives of others and she is wicked smart. Angela has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record. She led Burberry through a period of phenomenal growth with a focus on brand, culture, core values and the power of positive energy.

Angela will need to focus over the coming months on transitioning her current role at Burberry and will then join Apple in the spring. I am sure as all of you meet her, you will see why I am so excited that she is joining our executive team. I’d like to add a special thanks to all of our retail leaders. Your strength, talent and leadership afforded me the luxury of taking the time to perform an exhaustive search to find the best person in the world for this role.

Tim


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