Angela Ahrendts Leaving Apple in April

Apple’s retail boss Angela Ahrendts is to leave the company in April, it was announced Tuesday. Deirdre O’Brien will replace her, taking on an expanded role.

An Unexpected Departure

Ms. Ahrendts joined Apple as Senior Vice President of Retail in April 2014. She previously led UK fashion brand Burberry and was credited with turning around its fortunes. She proved similarly successful at Apple over her five years in Cupertino. She leaves Apple’s retail operation with 506 retail stores across five continents, as well as 35 online stores. In that time, Apple stores launched the Today at Apple programme of training and classes as part of their bid to become a destination, not a just a shop.

Commenting on her somewhat unexpected departure, Ms. Ahrendts said:

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.

At the time of this writing, it had not been confirmed what Ms. Ahrendts will do next.

Apple Veteran Taking Expanded Role

Ms. Ahrendts will be replaced by Ms. O’Brien, an Apple veteran of thirty years. She will have responsibility for Apple’s online and bricks-and-mortar retail offerings as part of an expanded role. Reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook, Ms. O’Brien will have the title Senior Vice President of Retail + People.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms. O’Brien said: “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.”

“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,” she added.

Mr. Cook said that “at Apple, we believe our soul is our people, and Deirdre understands the qualities and strengths of our team better than anyone.” He said that Ms. Ahrendts “has been a positive, transformative force, both for Apple’s stores and the communities they serve.”


6 thoughts on “Angela Ahrendts Leaving Apple in April

  • Agreed, there’s probably a bigger story here and if it’s personal, I don’t believe it’s anyone’s business. If it’s professional… might be worth knowing.

    And now we know why the last Event was so Retail focussed / the audience was stacked with retail employees… Angela takes a bow. Well deserved – not that we can really tell. There’s been a silence around her stint at Apple that bears investigation. Maybe Apple couldn’t afford another disaster and this one has been ‘managed’ to preserve the reputations of both parties??

    Can’t say I’m happy with Genius appointment system now. Reeks of phone-tree discouraging tactics… appear to care, but just managing the workload. And I’m sure there’s more stories than mine.

    See how well the next boss goes.

  • I agree with geoduck that the abruptness of this means there’s more to learn about the circumstances of this. I also agree with lwio … let’s hope it’s not because of health issues, although the “personal and professional interests” part seems to preclude that.

    But I am not at all sad to see her depart. Apple doesn’t need help with raising prices and marketing to the rich while forgetting about the middle class. We don’t need our Genius Bar appointment times made even shorter when we have problems with our Apple products (something that’s happening more and more).

    I don’t know how Apple accomplishes this, but they need some non-white, non-millionaire, perspective in their executive ranks.

    Old UNIX Guy

  • So SHE’S responsible for the IDIOTS that run those Apple stores that scam people with needless repairs etc. Well at least she’s following another Apple morally corrupt jerk to whit:
    Zhang Xiaolang was accused by U.S. prosecutors of downloading files containing proprietary information as he prepared to leave the iPhone maker in April and start work for Guangzhou-based Xiaopeng Motors. according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in federal court in San Jose, California. Hey Zhang, you should’ve stolen from somebody that actually MAKES self driving cars – aka Tesla. d:D 🚗

  • This was so SUDDEN. No rumors, no hints, no nothing. Say what you will about the web, but things like this always seem to start leaking onto Reddit, Twitter, or the other tech press a few days or weeks before they come to light. This just came out of the blue.

    Plus putting the head of HR in there seems to me to be an “Oh crap we have to get someone in that position. Who’s available for the next little while until we can find someone better,” choice. This all strikes me as a surprise. Either she dropped a bombshell at today’s board meeting, or there’s some skeleton in her closet that’s about to surface, or they discovered something she was doing that wasn’t copacetic.

    Nothing about this seems planned.

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