Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts to depart in April, hands mantle to Deirdre O'Brien

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 6
Apple retail head Angela Ahrendts is departing the company after just five years on the job, the company revealed on Tuesday, leaving incoming SVP Deirdre O'Brien with some large shoes to fill.

Angela Ahrendts


O'Brien, a 30-year veteran of the corporation, is currently Apple's VP of People. In fact, O'Brien will retain those responsibilities, taking on a new mantle as senior VP of "Retail + People." Along with retail operations, the role covers "People-related functions" like talent development and Apple University, recruiting, employee relations and experience, business partnership, benefits, compensation, and inclusion and diversity.

"At Apple, we believe our soul is our people, and Deirdre understands the qualities and strengths of our team better than anyone," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a prepared statement. Talking about Ahrendts, the CEO thanked her for being a "positive, transformative force" for both Apple stores and their surrounding communities.

"The last five years have been the most stimulating, challenging and fulfilling of my career," Ahrendts herself stated. "Through the teams' collective efforts, Retail has never been stronger or better positioned to make an even greater contribution for Apple."

Ahrendts was formerly the CEO of Burberry, and is thought to have been hired in 2014 precisely because of her fashion expertise. The company was on the verge of announcing the first-generation Apple Watch, and under Ahrendts' tenure Apple stores have become increasingly focused on selling style as much as substance, as evidenced by touches like glass tables showcasing different Watch bands and cases.

The executive also spearheaded "Today at Apple," a rebranding and expansion of in-store teaching and entertainment events. She only recently promoted the addition of over 50 new sessions, some of them celebrity-branded.

Apple's retail footprint has also expanded to over 506 locations under her tenure. Renovations are underway at a variety of existing shops to update them to the Ahrendts aesthetic, developed with the help of chief design officer Jony Ive.

Ahrendts is leaving to pursue "new personal and professional pursuits," Apple said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 127
    Tim really overpaid for her then. He should’ve hired from within the first time.
    caladanianagilealtitudeentropysmacky the mackykiowavthammeroftruthtrashman69radarthekatGeorgeBMacbloggerblog
  • Reply 2 of 127
    irelandireland Posts: 17,653member
    She’s great and did a great job, but these execs are obscenely overpaid.
    hammeroftruthchasmStrangeDayschristopher126radarthekatpropodred oakAppleExposedwelshdogpembroke
  • Reply 3 of 127
    https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/02/apple-names-deirdre-obrien-senior-vice-president-of-retail-and-people/

    I guess it makes sense that Ms. Ahrendts would leave in April. She has about 105,000 time-based RSUs due to vest on April 1st.

    But she's also giving up a lot of unvested RSUs. She has another 200,000 or so unvested time-based RSUs and perhaps 350,000 unvested performance-based RSUs.
    patchythepirateentropyschasmradarthekatksec1983LordeHawkrepressthis
  • Reply 4 of 127
    StayPuftZombieStayPuftZombie Posts: 45unconfirmed, member
    Overpaid but glad she's leaving. She seemed very bright, but the reality is she turned the best retail experience ever into the DMV and basically added nothing but logistical complication. The threat of her possibly becoming CEO has me breathing a sigh of relief as she was not a good fit.

    The new head of people and retail seems like an AWFUL idea as she is basically head of HR, and now magically a master of retail?

    What would be great is if Deidre is temporary and they convince Ron Johnson to come back. He was great at this role. Apple would be lucky to get him back.
    DAalsethentropysmacky the mackykiowavtMisterKitBittySonbshankberndogelijahgdavgreg
  • Reply 5 of 127
    Paid obscene amounts of money to add a bit of fashion to the stores. Still not as bad as John Browett, paid obscene amounts of money to make every retail employees working life a nightmare. I've never worked somewhere, where seeing employees in tears was a weekly experience. Thank's John you jerk.
    hammeroftruthequality725211983
  • Reply 6 of 127
    Oh thank god. Tim had been grooming her for the top spot and I've been fearful she'd get it. She brought nothing to the table, and I'd argue that she was out of her depth at Apple during her entire tenure. Apple's a technology company. I know they made a brief pivot to fashion with the Watch introduction, but that was clearly a failure (the fashion angle they were playing up, not the watch). I don't know if Ahrendts was partially responsible for the fashion push or if she was brought on to support the push after the decision had been made, but it was clearly a mistake (ask anyone who owns an Apple Watch Edition).
    StayPuftZombiemacky the mackykiowavtasdasdSpamSandwichradarthekatBittySon1983elijahgmobird
  • Reply 7 of 127
    ivanhivanh Posts: 372member
    Wrong hire. 
    kiowavtTomEBittySon1stkestralmobird
  • Reply 8 of 127
    Can we please put a Mac nerd in charge?
    StayPuftZombieentropysMisterKitScot1radarthekatkestralelijahgmobird
  • Reply 9 of 127
    What would be great is if Deidre is temporary and they convince Ron Johnson to come back. He was great at this role. Apple would be lucky to get him back.
    Yes - Ron was outstanding. He would’ve saved JCPenney with more time...and a better interim plan. 
    elijahg
  • Reply 10 of 127
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,729member
    A shame, she's done a grand job with the Apple Stores and the Support arm. She went from President to VP to run Apple Retail, so I imagine when she shows up again, then she'll be running a company again.

    Oh thank god. Tim had been grooming her for the top spot and I've been fearful she'd get it
    Er, no he wasn't.

    She's older than he is, so the chances are she'd retire about the same time or sooner.
    chasmStrangeDaysfastasleepbaconstangradarthekat1983elijahgrandominternetpersonpscooter63jony0
  • Reply 11 of 127
    Overpaid but glad she's leaving. She seemed very bright, but the reality is she turned the best retail experience ever into the DMV and basically added nothing but logistical complication. The threat of her possibly becoming CEO has me breathing a sigh of relief as she was not a good fit.

    The new head of people and retail seems like an AWFUL idea as she is basically head of HR, and now magically a master of retail?

    What would be great is if Deidre is temporary and they convince Ron Johnson to come back. He was great at this role. Apple would be lucky to get him back.
    She turned the best retail experience into the DMV? How so? 

    And what was great about Ron Johnson other than he ran Apple retail when it was a much smaller company?
    edited February 5 patchythepirateStrangeDaysradarthekat
  • Reply 12 of 127
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,729member
    Overpaid but glad she's leaving. She seemed very bright, but the reality is she turned the best retail experience ever into the DMV and basically added nothing but logistical complication. The threat of her possibly becoming CEO has me breathing a sigh of relief as she was not a good fit.

    The new head of people and retail seems like an AWFUL idea as she is basically head of HR, and now magically a master of retail?

    What would be great is if Deidre is temporary and they convince Ron Johnson to come back. He was great at this role. Apple would be lucky to get him back.
    She turned the best retail experience into the DMV? How so? 
    Probably by not being a bloke, I suspect.
    crowleyStrangeDaysfastasleepelijahg
  • Reply 13 of 127
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,729member
    Apple today announced that Deirdre O’Brien is taking on new responsibilities for Apple’s retail and online stores in an expanded role as senior vice president of Retail + People

    I'm no expert, but that does not sound like a real job title.

    She's going to run HR (a hundred thousand employees and contractors) and run the Retail Chain?

    Mmmm.


    edited February 5 macky the mackyStrangeDaysbaconstangradarthekat1983elijahg
  • Reply 14 of 127
    twlatl said:
    Oh thank god. Tim had been grooming her for the top spot and I've been fearful she'd get it. She brought nothing to the table, and I'd argue that she was out of her depth at Apple during her entire tenure. Apple's a technology company. I know they made a brief pivot to fashion with the Watch introduction, but that was clearly a failure (the fashion angle they were playing up, not the watch). I don't know if Ahrendts was partially responsible for the fashion push or if she was brought on to support the push after the decision had been made, but it was clearly a mistake (ask anyone who owns an Apple Watch Edition).
    How do we know Tim was grooming her for the top spot? And anyone who bought an Apple Watch Edition knew what they were buying and have more money than they know what to with so...
    StrangeDaysbaconstang
  • Reply 15 of 127
    StayPuftZombieStayPuftZombie Posts: 45unconfirmed, member
    carnegie said:
    https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/02/apple-names-deirdre-obrien-senior-vice-president-of-retail-and-people/

    I guess it makes sense that Ms. Ahrendts would leave in April. She has about 105,000 time-based RSUs due to vest on April 1st.

    But she's also giving up a lot of unvested RSUs. She has another 200,000 or so unvested time-based RSUs and perhaps 350,000 unvested performance-based RSUs.

    "personal reasons" often translates to 'fired'.
    macky the mackykestralelijahgrandominternetperson
  • Reply 16 of 127
    65026502 Posts: 276member
    Ha ha ha! Like I said in this thread (https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/209292/apples-experiential-retail-success-lies-in-improving-a-customers-life-claims-angela-ah/p4) she was useless and accomplished nothing. But, she raked in $100's of millions and we're left with $1,400 iphones and lousy macs in her wake. Tim Cook does not look good after two major retail hiring fails.
    macky the mackykiowavtkestralelijahg
  • Reply 17 of 127
    carnegie said:
    https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/02/apple-names-deirdre-obrien-senior-vice-president-of-retail-and-people/

    I guess it makes sense that Ms. Ahrendts would leave in April. She has about 105,000 time-based RSUs due to vest on April 1st.

    But she's also giving up a lot of unvested RSUs. She has another 200,000 or so unvested time-based RSUs and perhaps 350,000 unvested performance-based RSUs.

    "personal reasons" often translates to 'fired'.
    If she was fired why is she staying until April and why was she quoted in the press release? She was there for 5 years. She’s probably ready to do something else. Or maybe misses the fashion world and wants to get back into that space. Not everyone leaves a company on bad terms.
    StrangeDaysgilly33baconstangmuthuk_vanalingamtmay1983
  • Reply 18 of 127
    6502 said:
    Ha ha ha! Like I said in this thread (https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/209292/apples-experiential-retail-success-lies-in-improving-a-customers-life-claims-angela-ah/p4) she was useless and accomplished nothing. But, she raked in $100's of millions and we're left with $1,400 iphones and lousy macs in her wake. Tim Cook does not look good after two major retail hiring fails.

    The head of retail has nothing to do with the price of iPhones or how Macs are designed.
    asdasdStrangeDaysfastasleepgilly33baconstangtrashman69ksec1983randominternetperson
  • Reply 19 of 127
    StayPuftZombieStayPuftZombie Posts: 45unconfirmed, member
    Overpaid but glad she's leaving. She seemed very bright, but the reality is she turned the best retail experience ever into the DMV and basically added nothing but logistical complication. The threat of her possibly becoming CEO has me breathing a sigh of relief as she was not a good fit.

    The new head of people and retail seems like an AWFUL idea as she is basically head of HR, and now magically a master of retail?

    What would be great is if Deidre is temporary and they convince Ron Johnson to come back. He was great at this role. Apple would be lucky to get him back.
    She turned the best retail experience into the DMV? How so? 

    And what was great about Ron Johnson other than he ran Apple retail when it was a much smaller company?
    Um he CREATED apple retail. When everyone said it would never work. Go google the articles of it's doom. He pulled it out of his mind and made it what it was. The highest $ per square foot retail ever.  So yea, there's that teeny tiny creation thing.

    As for DMV, go to a store today. You're a pinball. She added logistical complication and ruined and poisoned the retail experience. Before, you'd go to the genius bar and deal with your issues.

    Now you show up, you try to find where to check in, there is no genius bar. You ask one employee, they say, um no, im not the check in person, go over there, thats where the check in person is. You go over there and say I'd like to check in. Oh I'm not the check in person, but they are right there. Then you check in and they send you to table X,Y over there. Some people go to the wrong table. The geniuses come looking for where you should be, but the person is in the wrong spot, and now the genius goes to 2 or 3 tables finding the right person. In the mean time, people who have problems are interspersed throughout the store with their poison "my iDevice doesnt work" griping, poisoning the buying experience around others.

    Before, you just went to the bar, you and your problems were isolated and didnt poison others' purchasing experience, and you didnt pinball through the miserable DMV experience. I used to love just stopping by at apple stores when Ron was in charge. I cringe if I have to go there now.  So that's how it's the DMV.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-stores-suffer-from-customer-complaints-long-wait-time-2018-3/
    edited February 5 asdasdrobin huberNatkoradarthekatBittySonmuthuk_vanalingamkestralberndogksecGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 20 of 127
    This is a bit...sudden. Usually there is some hint, some back room whispering of this sort of thing. This time nothing, and replacing her with the HR person with no retail background. 

    VERY strange.
    MisterKit1983elijahg
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