With a direct line into the CEO, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail, Angela Ahrendts, was Tim Cooke’s right-hand woman and tipped for the top.
But as news broke last week of her departure from Apple in April, there’s been keen speculation about where she might go next.
There has been much speculation as to why Angela is leaving Apple now. Some have suggested it’s due to declining iPhone sales. Product demand has become an issue for the brand, with consumers holding onto their phones for longer before upgrading.
Apple meanwhile have not given a reason for Ahrendts’ departure, saying only that she is leaving “for new personal and professional opportunities.”
At Apple, Angela was responsible for strategy, real estate and development, and operations of Apple’s physical and online stores and contact centres. She integrated their physical and digital retail businesses to create a seamless customer experience for over a billion visitors a year.
Prior to Apple, Angela was CEO of Burberry where she served as Chief Executive Officer and led the company through a period of outstanding global growth due to a remarkable turnaround, re-establishing the company as one of the world's premier luxury fashion brands.
Earlier in her career, Angela was also Executive Vice President at Liz Claiborne Inc and President of Donna Karan International.
Ahrendts has been quoted as saying “to thyself be true”. In an interview with ABC journalist Rebecca Jarvis for her podcast No Limits, she talked about her own journey and realisation that authenticity mattered more to her than title or position. “You know, I have to wake up with me every morning, and I want to be the best version of myself.”
With a thirst for transformation, Ahrendts is likely to move somewhere she can embed digital growth strategies and innovations. On her wish list is also likely to be a strong team whom she can champion (in her view, the “secret sauce”), and company values that closely align with her own. For this reason, industry insiders are speculating a move to Ralph Lauren might be on the cards, where she joined the Board of Directors in May 2018, complimenting her ideals and roots in high-end fashion.
One thing is certain, with the unprecedented challenges facing retail right now, there’s no shortness of brands in need of her expertise.
What brands do you think will be falling over themselves to snap up Ahrendts? What next for Apple? We’d love to hear from you.
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