The promotion of Deirdre O’Brien to Senior Vice President of Retail and People following the announcement of Angela Ahrendts’ impending departure surprised a lot of people. Surely running Apple HR was a big enough job? How could anyone take on doing that and running retail too? A blog post from Dr. Drang from earlier in February, which has just come to my attention courtesy of Daring Fireball, explained it really well. Firstly, lots of people work in Apple retail, and secondly, SVPs at Apple have often had rather lose roles.
But if you look at Apple’s most recent Equal Employment Opportunity filing, you’ll see that Sales Workers make up 31% of Apple’s employee base. Only Professionals, a hair higher at 32%, beats it out, and no other employee category is even close. So a lot of Apple HR is already devoted to Retail. The duties of Apple’s top people have often been broad and seemingly unfocused.