Apple's new retail chief was Britain's highest paid CEO, saw sales at Burberry triple

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Angela Ahrendts oversaw a renaissance at British fashion house Burberry, tripling revenues with an aggressive digital and emerging market strategy and becoming the highest-paid executive in London, the first woman ever to accomplish the feat.



When Angela Ahrendts took the reins at London-based Burberry in 2006 --?the brand's 150th anniversary -- the company reported yearly revenue of ?740 million and its share price hovered around ?4. Seven years later, when Ahrendts announced plans to step down as CEO to become Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores for Apple, Burberry's annual revenue had nearly tripled to ?2 billion and shares traded for more than ?15.

The skyrocketing trajectory of Burberry's financials led the group to make Ahrendts the highest-paid executive in Britain last year with a total pay package of ?17 million, the first woman ever to top the London leaderboard. A Burberry executive told The Guardian in June that the company distributed an anger-soothing email to employees once Ahrendts's windfall became public, but that it was a superfluous step --?"Everyone knows it's an insane amount, but everyone thinks she's totally worth the money," the executive said, adding that "Everyone loves her."

"If I look to any company as a model, it's Apple."
--?Angela Ahrendts to WSJ Magazine in 2010

Burberry's ascent back to the fashion stratosphere was the result of a multi-pronged strategy overseen by Ahrendts and former CEO Rose Marie Bravo which saw the company cancel or buy out many of its foreign licensing and distribution agreements, bringing retail stores back under corporate control. Burberry's function as both a wholesaler and a retailer is somewhat unique among luxury fashion houses and affords the company an Apple-like degree of control over the customer experience.

"I feel like I spent my first few years here buying back the company - not the most pleasant or creative task," Ahrendts said to The Guardian. "But we had to do it. If you can't control everything, you can't control anything, not really."

New Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts


Ahrendts, who came in at number 53 in the 2013 edition of Forbes's World's Most Powerful Women list, also put in place a new set of technology-focused tactics for the brand. Burberry's flagship Regent Street retail store has been described as "one of the most technologically advanced stores in the UK," and sales staff in many of the company's smaller retail shops around the world carry iPads on which customers can browse Burberry's full collection.

Burberry under Ahrendts employed an aggressive digital strategy with a focus on using social media to build hype for product unveilings.
Burberry also collaborated with Apple in last month's launch of Apple's iPhone 5s, using several of the new handsets to record and live stream the label's Spring and Summer 2014 fashion show during London Fashion Week in September. Burberry's Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey, who will replace Ahrendts as CEO, said that the company was "inspired by what this could mean for the future as we continue to explore the merging of physical and digital experiences."

Emerging markets like China --?which Apple CEO Tim Cook has highlighted as a "very important" target for Cupertino --?also played a key role in Burberry's growth under Ahrendts thanks to a strategic focus on the country. China and its 69 first-party retail stores now accounts for 14 percent of the company's yearly revenue.

In a Tuesday morning note to employees, Cook heaped praise on Ahrendts and said that he had long planned to unite the brick-and-mortar and online retail teams under a single banner but, until meeting Ahrendts, had yet to find an executive capable of leading the combined channels.
Team,

I am thrilled to announce that Angela Ahrendts will be joining Apple as a senior vice president and member of our executive team, reporting directly to me. Angela is currently the CEO of Burberry.

She will lead both our retail and online teams. I have wanted one person to lead both of these teams for some time because I believe it will better serve our customers, but I had never met anyone whom I felt confident could lead both until I met Angela. We met for the first time last January, and I knew in that meeting that I wanted her to join Apple. We've gotten to know each other over the past several months and I've left each conversation even more impressed.

She shares our values and our focus on innovation. She places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people. She believes in enriching the lives of others and she is wicked smart. Angela has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record. She led Burberry through a period of phenomenal growth with a focus on brand, culture, core values and the power of positive energy.

Angela will need to focus over the coming months on transitioning her current role at Burberry and will then join Apple in the spring. I am sure as all of you meet her, you will see why I am so excited that she is joining our executive team. I'd like to add a special thanks to all of our retail leaders. Your strength, talent and leadership afforded me the luxury of taking the time to perform an exhaustive search to find the best person in the world for this role.

Tim
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 77

    I wonder if she's good at keynotes?

  • Reply 2 of 77
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Ahrendts is a go-getter and is a fantastic find.  How many successful CEOs are out there, really?  And how many actually leave a successful CEO position to go to a SVP Position?  Really excited about this- love this move.

  • Reply 3 of 77
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

     

    I wonder if she's good at keynotes?


     

    Here's a video of her and her work at Burberry:

     

    image 

     

    She seems like a badass.

     

    EDIT:  I found this Ted Talk with her.  This answers your question very well.  Seems she likes to hold an iPad Mini during her talks.

     

     

    EDIT 2:  This video seems almost like her interview at Apple - except it was from 2012.  She'll be an asset to Apple:

     

  • Reply 4 of 77
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,618member

    The more I read about her, the more I like this appointment.

  • Reply 5 of 77
    I wonder what Jony Ive's thoughts were on her selection?
  • Reply 6 of 77
    akqiesakqies Posts: 768member
    Here's a video of her and her work at Burberry:

    <iframe width="640" height="385" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DzBIYwZsut0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>
     
    She seems like a badass.

    I don't know if she wrote her dialogue but she states it all very well. She has a Steve Jobs-like enthusiasm when she's asking questions about how to best evolve the brand. I can see her being groomed as the CEO after Tim Cook retires many years from now.
  • Reply 7 of 77
    nhtnht Posts: 4,488member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 View Post

     

    Here's a video of her and her work at Burberry:

     

    image 

     

    She seems like a badass.


     

    John Browett is such a lame ass compared to her.  Note that the ad is from saleforce but she did a good job in presenting.

     

    This seems like a good fit.  I dunno WTF cook was thinking with Browett.

  • Reply 8 of 77
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 View Post

     

     

    Here's a video of her and her work at Burberry:

     

    image 

     

    She seems like a badass.

     

    EDIT:  I found this Ted Talk with her.  This answers your question very well.  Seems she likes to hold an iPad Mini during her talks.

     


     

    Assuming there isn't a clash of ego among the Apple leadership, she could be a game-changing addition. 

  • Reply 9 of 77
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 View Post

     

     

    Here's a video of her and her work at Burberry:

     

    image 

     

    She seems like a badass.

     

    EDIT:  I found this Ted Talk with her.  This answers your question very well.  Seems she likes to hold an iPad Mini during her talks.

     


    WOW!!! Super impressed! There's no doubt they are going to utilize her speaking talents. Great get Apple!!!

  • Reply 10 of 77

    She does seem like an excellent choice, although if she makes  a lot of grammatical mistakes, that might start to bug me in a long keynote. It's a small price to pay, though, if she's as good as she seems she might be.

     

    "It gives every associate a platform to talk back to Christoper and I."

  • Reply 11 of 77
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MessagePad2100 View Post

     

     

    Here's a video of her and her work at Burberry:

     

    image 

     

    She seems like a badass.

     

    EDIT:  I found this Ted Talk with her.  This answers your question very well.  Seems she likes to hold an iPad Mini during her talks.

     


     

    This is an excellent video.  She has a genuine passion for the work she does.  I'm crossing my fingers that Tim Cook hits the ball out of the park with this one.  I'm guessing that Apple must have really sweetened the deal to get a CEO to essentially take a lesser-role position and not hold the reins anymore.  

  • Reply 12 of 77
    "saw the company cancel or buy out many of its foreign licensing and distribution agreements". Sounds familiar.
  • Reply 13 of 77
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member

    When I read CEO of Burberry, I rolled my eyes, thinking it was ridiculous and that there was not much overlap in terms of type of products. But I watched the social ad, and some of her TED Talk, and I've come away extreme impressed by her as a person. As long as she develops a deep understand of Apple, it's history, culture, philosophy, vision, and soul, and adapts her work to fit that (not shoehorning what she thinks would work for Burberry), then good things can happen. She also has excellent stage presence and presentation skills, and although I'm not the kind of person that believes there needs to be a "quota" of women/minorities etc, and that the only factor should be who is the absolute best person for the job, would be nice to have a woman presenting at least a portion of Apple's keynotes. I'm assuming she can take over the retail portion of the presentation, which traditionally Cook handles. 

  • Reply 14 of 77
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Retrogusto View Post

     

    She does seem like an excellent choice, although if she makes  a lot of grammatical mistakes, that might start to bug me in a long keynote. It's a small price to pay, though, if she's as good as she seems she might be.

     

    "It gives every associate a platform to talk back to Christoper and I."


     

    What's wrong with that grammar? (One of) The thing that bugs me with American English though is the propensity to drop the 'ly'. It's proper to say "they speak socially" not "they speak social"!



    That video looked entirely like a pitch for the Apple head of retail job.  It pretty much ticked all the boxes for what Apple wants with a healthy smattering of Apple products to boot.

  • Reply 15 of 77
    akqiesakqies Posts: 768member
    s.metcalf wrote: »
    What's wrong with that grammar? (One of) The thing that bugs me with American English though is the propensity to drop the 'ly'. It's proper to say "they speak socially" not "they speak social"!

    Language does not work that way. You feeling a word sounds more correct one way does not mean it's incorrect when use in another way.
  • Reply 16 of 77
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,603member

    Browett  /  Ahrendts  - night and day.  Ahrendts already seems like a spiritual perfect fit for Apple. I can see her input go well beyond retail. 

  • Reply 17 of 77
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    New Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts


     

    She will succeed at Apple. Period.

  • Reply 18 of 77
    retrogusto wrote: »
    She does seem like an excellent choice, although if she makes  a lot of grammatical mistakes, that might start to bug me in a long keynote. It's a small price to pay, though, if she's as good as she seems she might be.

    "It gives every associate a platform to talk back to Christoper and I."

    Apple does practice those keynotes a lot so hopefully they catch things like that. If not I predict a bit of cringing for Retrogusto and I. It's really is a bit much to put up with. My friends and me might even skip the keynote. 8-)
  • Reply 19 of 77
    dabedabe Posts: 99member
    Wow, it's truly amazing that you even have to ask!! Proper grammar, whether American or British English, would dictate "... Christopher and me" in this sentence, not Christopher and I.
  • Reply 20 of 77

    This seems like an EXCELLENT appointment.  In the video posted above she seems confident, passionate and knowledgeable.  Looking forward to exciting things coming to Apple Stores soon.

     

    Way to go!

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