Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts is leaving her post to join the team at Apple. The company hired Ahrendts to help strengthen its retail and online stores. She will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook starting in mid-2014.
Ahrendts has achieved a lot of success in China, a market where Apple has struggled to increase its foothold. The tech giant has been searching for that expertise ever since Ron Johnson left the company in 2011. Johnson attempted to turn around J.C. Penney but his efforts failed miserably.
Apple in part developed the iPhone 5C in an attempt to lure in Chinese buyers, however, sales have been disappointing because of steep Google Android, and other device competition.
Women in technology have been making big strides over the last few years. Ahrendts will become one of the highest ranking women alongside Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, and Meg Whitman.
Apple has been attempting to forge a deal with China Mobile, however, no plans have been announced at this time. With Angela Ahrendts on the team that deal may finally become a reality.
Apple currently holds only a 5% market share in China, losing ground to not only Samsung but also Lenovo, Huaewi, and ZTE.
After taking over as Burberry’s CEO in 2006 the American-born businesswoman joined the UK team and is credited with turning the luxury brand into an expanded global operation. Burberry has greatly expanded its Asian operations since Ahrendts took over the fashion house.
Under her leadership the Burberry brand increased from £2.1 billion to £7 billion.
While she was working in the clothing retail space Ahrendts pushed a focus on digital and social media practices.
Angela Ahrendts also has plenty of success in emerging markets, an areas where iPhone 5C type devices and other future Apple products will likely be targeted.
Burberry shares fell by 4% based on the news of the CEO’s upcoming departure.
Do you think Angela Ahrendts will help Apple quickly expand its global retail operations.