Apple finally has a new executive to run its retail division now that it has hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to fill the job. Her title will be senior vice president of retail and online stores, and she'll start her new job in spring of 2014 after Burberry transitions Christopher Baily into the CEO role.
The executive position was created just for Ms. Ahrendts and will report directly to CEO Tim Cook. In a statement about the new role, Apple said,
Ahrendts will have oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of both Apple retail and online stores, which have redefined the shopping experience for hundreds of millions of customers around the world.
She joined the fashion company Burberry in early 2006 and within a few months became CEO. Prior to that she served as executive vice president at Liz Clairborne.
Ms. Ahrendts has been credited with turning around Burberry's success in the Asian market, and she will likely be tasked with improving Apple's position in countries like China, too.
Apple's retail division has been without a leader essentially ever since Ron Johnson left the the company to take over as the CEO of JC Penney -- a gig that didn't workout for him or the budget retailer. Mr. Johnson has been credited with building Apple's successful retail devision and was instrumental in creating the familiar store interior design and layout.
John Browett took over as senior vice president of retail, but was quickly shown the door after cutting back on retail staff and customer service. Prior to his short stint at Apple, he was dealing with ongoing criticism for his management of the European electronics chain Dixons.
The Mac, iPhone and iPad maker was clearly working to avoid a similar mistake since it has been on the hunt for a new retail leader for about a year. Based on Ms. Ahrendts' track record so far, Apple looks like it's ready to ramp up its already successful retail business even more.