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Apple recruits fashion CEO

Apple hires Burberry CEO

Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts is set to leave the high fashion brand in 2014 to join iPhone and iPad manufacturer Apple.

Ahrendts will have spent eight years at Burberry, during which time she has instigated a transformation of the luxury goods brand from celebrity and ‘chav’ designer of choice, back to its former glory as a world-class fashion house.

The departure from Burberry further reduces the number of female chief executives of FTSE 100 firms, as Ahrendts moves into her newly created role of Senior Vice President for retail and online stores. Ahrendts, whose £16.9m package made her the top earning chief executive of the FTSE 100 last year, has said she is honoured to be joining Apple.

It is thought that the decision from the technology giant is highly indicative of the company’s plans for the future; demonstrating Apple’s vision of itself as a high-end fashion accessory in the consumer technology world that its premium prices and model imply.

What can Ahrendts bring to Apple?

The announcement of Ahrendts’ departure comes shortly after Burberry revealed they had seen a 17 per cent rise in revenue to £694m over six months to the end of September, while sales in stores rose 13 per cent on last year’s figures largely due to a boost in spending in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and the US.

Burberry has also recently experienced growth in mainland China, a mutual target consumer market for both Apple and Burberry. Meanwhile Apple’s most recent quarter has indicated that the company has steadied at $4bn, a 22 per cent drop on the same period last year.

The British label’s success in China will be hugely relevant to the hiring of Ahrendts, as Apple continues to push its retail presence in emerging markets where Ahrendts has a proven record for selling luxury products successfully.

Burberry and Apple

The two brands have collaborated before in the lead up to the launch of Apple’s latest iPhone models in September, when Burberry prominently featured the iPhone throughout its Spring/Summer 2014 fashion show.

In a statement regarding her move, Ahrendts said:

“I am profoundly honoured to join Apple in this newly created position next year, and very much look forward to working with the global teams to further enrich the consumer experience on and offline. I have always admired the innovation and impact Apple products and services have on people’s lives and hope in some small way I can help contribute to the company’s continued success and leadership in changing the world.”

Ahrendts will be succeeded at Burberry by chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, who will become chief executive whilst maintaining his position of six years at the fashion brand.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword said: “The smart device industry is an incredibly competitive one and Apple has spent the last six years at the forefront of the market. So far the brand has relied on appealing to a large consumer base not only with its design but its user-friendly software.

“However, the likes of Samsung and Microsoft are catching up as the recent sales figures have shown and Apple needs to find a new edge to retain its current status. Hiring Angela Ahrendts is a clever move as it shifts the public’s perception of Apple from purely electronic goods to a fashion symbol endorsed by an entirely different industry.”

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