Angela Ahrendts is Leaving Apple
After five incredibly successful years at the helm of Apple’s retail operations, Angela Ahrendts plans to leave the company in April “for new personal and professional pursuits,” the company announced in a statement Tuesday. In a related move, Apple said it has expanded the role of Deirdre O’Brien, promoting her to senior vice president of retail and people, reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.
“The last five years have been the most stimulating, challenging and fulfilling of my career. Through the teams’ collective efforts, Retail has never been stronger or better positioned to make an even greater contribution for Apple,” Ahrendts, senior vice president of Retail at Apple and a member of the inaugural class of Dealerscope Powerful Women in Consumer Technology, said in the statement. “I feel there is no better time to pass the baton to Deirdre, one of Apple’s strongest executives. I look forward to watching how this amazing team, under her leadership, will continue to change the world one person and one community at a time.”
In her time at Apple, Ahrendts helped lead a team that set a gold standard for experiential brick and mortar retailing. The company operates more than 500 physical retail stores on five continents, in addition to some 35 online stores. Within the past two years, under Ahrendts direction, Apple launched a totally revamped in-store program under the Today at Apple banner along with new flagship Town Square locations that are meant to blend into their environment.
The result of Ahrendts’ work (and perhaps the high cost of Apple’s product)? Average retail sales per square foot that total north of $5,500—dwarfing other retailers’ performance in that area. To say she was successful in her job at Apple would be the understatement of the century.
“I want to thank Angela for inspiring and energizing our teams over the past five years,” Cook said in the statement. “She has been a positive, transformative force, both for Apple’s stores and the communities they serve. We all wish her the very best as she begins a new chapter.”
As for O’Brien, she brings to the table some three decades of experience at Apple. She’ll now be tasked with leading the company’s global retail reach.
“People come to Apple to do the best work of their lives, and our retail teams show their passion every day, in every interaction, all around the world,” she said in the statement. “It is the opportunity of a lifetime to work with, and learn from, such a talented, diverse and imaginative team. I am looking forward to this journey, and to continuing the important work of the People team in supporting all of Apple’s amazing employees.”