Apple's Incoming Retail Chief to Be Named Dame of the British Empire

Angela AhrendtsAngela Ahrendts

Angela Ahrendts, the outgoing CEO of fashion retailer Burberry and the incoming head of Apple's worldwide retail operations, is set to be named a Dame of the British Empire. UK newspaper The Daily Mail reported that Ms. Ahrendts will be so named in a "low key" ceremony, and that she is believed to be starting her gig at Apple this month.

Dame of the British Empire (DBE) is the female version of a knighthood in the UK (try on the word "damehood" for fun), but Ms. Ahrendts will not be able to call herself Dame Angela. That's because she's a U.S. citizen, but she will be entitled to the title Dame of the British Empire and use the initials DBE after her name.

Also because she's not a subject of the British Crown, she will not receive her honor (or honour, if you'd prefer) from the Queen, but instead from business secretary Vince Cable. The low key ceremony will take place at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in Westminister.

Ms. Ahrendts has been credited with turning around the Burberry brand, a luxury fashion retailer based in the UK. The company had fallen on hard times before she was picked to rejuvenate it, and rejuvenate it is what she did. Today the company is seen as a smashing success firing on all cylinders.

Cut to Apple, where she was chosen by CEO Tim Cook to take over Apple's own fleet of retail stores around the world. Apple Retail was created by Ron Johnson and Steve Jobs, but has been without a leader since Mr. Johnson left Apple in 2011 to head JC Penney (he was fired from that job in 2013).

Note that I am trying to ignore John Browett's short-lived and much-maligned tenure as Mr. Johnson's successor for a few months in 2012. In fact, one thing that Tim Cook gets little credit for in the mainstream is effectively heading retail operations in addition to all of his other responsibilities at Apple.

That will be coming to an end, however, once Ms. Ahrendts takes up her new gig, so here's hoping she works out as well as everyone thinks she will.

All of which means that Sir Jony Ive will no longer be the only knight in Apple's executive ranks, and that's pretty cool, at least if you're an anglophile like me.