Angela Ahrendts quits Apple in 'shock' decision

Image of Deirdre O’Brien

Apple did not give a reason for Ahrendts' departure, saying only that she was leaving "for new personal and professional opportunities". Deirdre O'Brien, human resources chief, will also run the retail unit going forward. In fact she has spent three decades at the company, most recently at the helm of the People team. Every Apple retail store location offers innovative programs for customers, including Today at Apple, created to unlock creativity, inspire learning and encourage connection.

The sudden resignation of Ahrendts who joined the Company in 2014 comes as Apple struggles with a 15% slump in sales of their latest iPhones. "This is not going to be someone easily replaced".

Ms Ahrendts is credited...

"Her focus was integrating the online and offline experience, which in some ways took the focus away from an excellent in-store experience", said Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures.

The Victorian government in late 2017 announced it had signed an agreement with Apple to demolish the Yarra building in Federation Square to make way for a flagship Apple store, one of five globally. Reportedly, Ahrendts avoided promotional pricing tactics.

The former Burberry executive wasted no time at all in revamping the company's Retail stores and turning them into a lovely shopping experience that captured a wide array of emotions for those in attendance.

In a recent article in Vogue Business, Ahrendts hinted that she may be interested in returning to fashion.

She is one of its highest paid executives, earning almost twice as much as boss Tim Cook in 2017.

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Apple revealed today that it has named Deirdre O'Brien as the new senior vice president of Retail + People. Others who have departed include chief engineer Bob Mansfield, former retail boss John Browett, General Counsel Bruce Sewell, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer and iPhone and iPad software leader Scott Forstall.

Part of Ahrendts's mission was to transform the consumer experience of visiting an Apple Store, which remains a huge driver of sales and a potent marketing vehicle for users to feel as though they are a part of a premium brand, said Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. Her annual cash bonuses have been tied to net sales and operating income, while her stock grants have partially depended on Apple's stock return versus other S&P 500 companies.

Time for Something New at Apple?

Deirdre O'Brien will assume most of Ahrendt's responsibilities and report directly to Tim Cook.

Her role as "veep of people" is understood to have been Cook's idea. In that role, she was key in efforts to distribute Apple products around the world. It's an unusual move-both HR and retail are enormous responsibilities, and Apple retail has never been run by someone without an extensive background as a merchant.

However, this is the first time Apple has gone with an internal candidate and someone without significant retail experience to fill the head of retail position.

Per SEC filings, Ahrendts was also an expensive hire.

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