Apple has hired the chief executive of global fashion brand Burberry for a new position in its retail team.
Angela Ahrendts, who will join Apple next year, will take on the role of senior vice president of retail and online stores and will "have oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of both Apple retail and online stores."
Ahrendts said she was "profoundly honoured" to be joining Apple. "I have always admired the innovation and impact Apple products and services have on people's lives and hope in some small way I can help contribute to the company's continued success and leadership in changing the world," she said.
Apple chief Tim Cook said that Ahrendts would be a good fit for his company. "She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience," he explained. "She has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record."
Apple is heavily rumoured to be working on an iWatch product, and many have speculated that Ahrendt's appointment could be partly based upon her experience in the world of fashion, as the firm looks to market an area of technology it has not yet tackled.
Cook's company has experienced significant changes in its retail offerings in the last year, with former Dixons chief John Browett shown the door at Cupertino last October following his attempts to cut costs at Apple's flagship stores with layoffs and working-hour reductions. He had been in the job just six months and left the firm at the same time as the high-profile booting out of iOS chief Scott Forstall, following the Apple Maps debacle.
The brainchild of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the firm's glass, wood and limestone stores have been the signature of its physical presence for the last decade, famous for its Genius Bars, glass staircases and simple layout. The firm's brick and mortar presence attracts customers and tourists alike, so Ahrendts' appointment is unlikely to see a revolution in how the stores are operated, especially considering John Browett's chilly reception last year.
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