Who’s Angela Ahrendts?
After a search that took almost a yr, Apple yesterday introduced that Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts might be becoming a member of Apple this spring as the corporate’s Senior VP of Retail and On-line Shops.
Make no mistake about it, heading up Apple’s retail shops is a particularly difficult and essential place. Certainly, the brief tenure of former Senior VP of Retail John Browett underscores simply how difficult it’s to comply with within the footsteps of Ron Johnson, Apple’s unique retail mastermind.
Apple shops are properly-oiled machines that collectively comprise probably the most worthwhile retail enterprise within the nation. The individual charged with heading up this portion of Apple’s enterprise carries lots of duty, which is probably going why Apple took its candy time find a alternative for Browett, who was unceremoniously dismissed final October.
This is an fascinating reality to think about; the highest retail place at Apple has been vacant for 15 of the final 22 months.
So simply who’s Angela Ahrendts and is there any purpose to assume she’ll be a greater match at Apple than Browett?
In a phrase, sure.
Ahrendts involves Apple from the world of retail luxurious whereas John Browett got here to Apple from Dixons, a UK-based mostly retail chain that many have been fast to label as low cost and unorganized. In different phrases, whereas Ahrendts involves Apple from the world of trend, she undoubtedly appreciates the significance of premium branding and cultivating a prime-notch buying expertise.
Whereas the April 2012 hiring of Browett was greeted with skepticism, particularly by these accustomed to Dixons, the hiring of Ahrendts appears to be a a lot better selection.
Even Ron Johnson heaped reward on the rent, telling Bloomberg TV that Ahrendts is a “terrific selection” who will probably be “exceptionally nicely acquired”.
On Apple’s new rent, Ron Johnson tells @BloombergTV in assertion she’s a “terrific selection,” might be “exceptionally nicely acquired”
– Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) October 15, 2013
Over the previous seven years, Ahrendts served because the CEO of Burberry the place she helped revitalize the corporate’s picture and backside line, taking it to new and extra worthwhile heights. A local of Indiana, and a reportedly tireless employee who will get up at four:35 am on a regular basis, Ahrendts over the previous 5 years helped Burberry triple its income whereas concurrently growing product margins. Throughout her tenure as CEO, the share worth of Burberry almost quadrupled.
One of many extra fascinating points of Ahrendts is that she was capable of swiftly and successfully meld the worlds of trend and know-how. Whereas Apple likes to speak about the way it stands on the intersection of liberal arts and know-how, Burberry beneath Ahrendts seemingly stood in an analogous intersection, albeit within the style world.
Burberry’s Spring/Summer time 2013 marketing campaign video gained over a million YouTube views in simply forty eight hours. And the posh model now has sixteen million followers on Fb and greater than two million followers on Twitter.
Wander round Burberry’s London flagship retailer on Regent Road and you will find gross sales assistants armed with iPads. In the meantime mirrors rework into screens displaying catwalk pictures because of particular know-how sewn into some clothes and niknaks.
What’s extra is that the precise retailer has been redesigned to recreate an expertise that displays the corporate’s web site, Burberry World Stay.
In September 2012, BrandRepublic described Burberry’s Regent Road retailer thusly:
The shop’s options embrace a 22ft-excessive display, 500 hidden audio system and a hydraulic stage. It additionally showcases RFID microchips – radio-frequency identification – in a few of its garments. Because of this when a buyer wears the microchipped clothes, they will look right into a mirror that transforms right into a display, which exhibits how the garment would look on a catwalk. There may even be a digitally enabled gallery and occasions area.
Former colleagues say she harassed the expansion of Burberry’s web site when different luxurious manufacturers shied away from e-commerce. She positioned Apple iPads in shops, streamed Burberry trend exhibits reside on the corporate web site and adopted new software program to chop prices and enhance profitability.
“She simply aggressively drove know-how into each side of the enterprise,” stated Justin Cooke, Burberry’s former international vice chairman of public relations. “She noticed it as an actual enabler.”
Additionally of word is that Jessica Lessin, previously of the Wall Road Journal, was capable of dig up a number of fascinating tidbits about Ahrendts.
Apple’s new retail chief Angela Ahrendts is a watch woman, say individuals who know her. I’m definitely not implying that Apple, which is creating the iWatch, nabbed this excessive-profile government as a result of she loves watches or as a result of certainly one of her most up-to-date additions to the Burberry line was a really excessive-finish watch model (each true). I additionally hear she took specific curiosity within the watch retailing area in Burberry shops. Let’s simply say her ardour for watches is a coincidence. Or perhaps only a plus.
Whereas that is probably nothing greater than a coincidence, it is definitely value sharing given the bevy of different rumors surrounding Apple’s legendary iWatch. Extra so, it lends extra credence to the notion that Ahrendts will slot in a lot better at Apple than Browett ever did.
Recall that Browett a number of months in the past indicated that he simply “did not match” with the best way Apple runs issues.
“It was a type of issues the place you are rejected for match relatively than competency,” Browett defined in March of this yr.
As for Ahrendts, it looks like she already espouses the Apple philosophy of premium pricing for premium merchandise. Throughout a 2011 interview with CNN, Ahrendts was requested about Burberry’s refusal to chop costs throughout lean financial occasions.
Truly simply the other. I imply, we’re doing the whole lot we will to guard the long run sustainability of the model. You recognize Burberry has been round one hundred fifty five years and, no, nothing brief time period. Every little thing is for the long run. That is why these massive flagship shops that we’re opening up, I imply we’re going from eight to 25,000 sq. ft of promoting area good right here in London alone with our Regent road retailer… Whenever you’re enjoying long run and also you’re enjoying the worldwide luxurious model recreation, it’s extremely totally different.
Sound acquainted? Apple has in fact lengthy been criticized for not decreasing the worth of its merchandise, which usually command a premium over competing merchandise. Most lately, Apple was criticized for not making the iPhone 5c as reasonably priced as some analysts have been hoping.
Lastly, it is in all probability fairly telling that Ahrendts will head up Apple’s retail and on-line operations. Tim Prepare dinner famous in his e-mail to Apple staff that he has “needed one individual to steer each of those groups for a while” however by no means discovered somebody able to doing so till he met Ahrendts.
As one last level, notice that Burberry has 479 shops worldwide, which is about 60 greater than Apple presently has.