Cook thanks Angela Ahrendts in memo to employees over retail chief's departure

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 7
Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent a note to retail employees about current section chief Angela Ahrendts' departure and replacement Deirdre O'Brien, calling it an "opportunity to reinforce" company values.

Angela Ahrendts (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook
Angela Ahrendts (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook


Following the unexpected announcement that retail head Angela Ahrendts is leaving Apple in April after five years in the role, and the confirmation of Deirdre O'Brien as her replacement on Tuesday, Tim Cook has addressed the 70,000 retail employees around the world about the change.

The tone of the email, acquired by both AppleInsider and by Business Insider, is cordial and hopeful, taking the time to thank Ahrendts' efforts during her tenure leading the iPhone producer's retail efforts. "Angela has inspired and energized our retail teams with the vision of stores as a place where the best of Apple comes together to serve customers and communities," writes Cook, highlighting programs like Today at Apple that has "redefined" the in-store experience for customers.

On O'Brien, Cook advises her move to incorporate managing retail and HR under the title "senior vice president of Retail + People." Noting the over-30 years of experience at Apple, Cook adds O'Brien was part of the team that planned and launched the first Apple online and retail stores, and has "been a part of Retail's exciting expansion and every product launch since."

"This transition gives us an opportunity to reinforce and carry forward the values that make our retail and online stores the best in the world - and our mission to enrich the lives of others," adds the CEO. "As I've said many times, Apple's greatest asset is its people. And with that in mind, the best choice to lead our team became clear very quickly."

Cook ends the email thanking all of its employees for "all you do to help dreamers become doers, to expand human potential and to do the best work of our lives."

Ahrendts is said by Apple to be leaving to pursue "new personal and professional pursuits."

The full email reads:
Team,

I'm writing to let you know about an important leadership change. Today we're announcing the promotion of one of Apple's most passionate and experienced advocates for our customers and employees -- and the departure of a much-loved and accomplished leader who has played a transformative role in shaping Apple's retail experiences.

After five years leading Apple's retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts is planning to leave Apple in April for new personal and professional pursuits. Angela has inspired and energized our retail teams with the vision of stores as a place where the best of Apple comes together to serve customers and communities. During her tenure, the in-store experience has been redefined with programs like Today at Apple, and our relationship with customers is stronger than ever.

This transition gives us an opportunity to reinforce and carry forward the values that make our retail and online stores the best in the world -- and our mission to enrich the lives of others. As I've said many times, Apple's greatest asset is its people. And with that in mind, the best choice to lead our team became clear very quickly.

I am thrilled to announce that Deirdre O'Brien will be taking responsibility for our retail teams in a new role as senior vice president of Retail + People. Deirdre brings insight and experience gained over 30 years at Apple -- decades spent focusing on the connection between customers and the people and processes that serve them. Working collaboratively across Apple, Deirdre and her teams empower people to lead with purpose and humanity.

Deirdre was part of the team that planned and launched Apple's very first online and retail stores. She has been a part of Retail's exciting expansion and every product launch since. She knows the value of the deep human connections that retail experiences make possible -- and she knows this is where Apple shows its heart and soul.

In her capacity as vice president of People, Deirdre and her team have brought elevated focus to how Apple inspires, connects, develops and cares for its employees -- essential efforts that she will continue companywide through the People team in her new and expanded role.

As we look forward, finding new ways to elevate our in-store and online experiences, forging deeper relationships with the customers who love our products, I believe that our team, at every level, is the best in the business. I am grateful to Angela for all she's done for Apple, and I'm looking forward to what Deirdre will bring to her new role.

To everyone in Retail, and our employees worldwide, thanks for all you do to help dreamers become doers, to expand human potential and to do the best work of our lives.

Comments

  • Reply 2 of 20
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 259member
    “Angela Ahrendts (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook” 🤔
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Interesting to learn that Deirdre O'Brien isn't your traditional head of HR and that she was involved in the (at the time revolutionary) deployment of the original online Apple store.  Perhaps she's been chomping at the bit to get into something more meaty and visible.  Now I don't expect her to be replaced by a new retail chief any time soon.
    edited February 6 rogifan_newkseclolliver
  • Reply 4 of 20
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,563member
    Guess she got tired of playing and trying to sell electronics. I always wondered why she saw this as interesting coming form the fashion/retails space which is always changing. Can anyone say what the mark she has left on the Apple retail model. I not sure it change a whole lots since Job put forward his original vision. I personally seeing more stores trying to model what Jobs with the stores verse the other way around.
    ravnorodomksec
  • Reply 5 of 20
    JanNL said:
    “Angela Ahrendts (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook” 🤔
    What?  She's on his left (from his perspective), but she's on the right side of the picture.
    lolliver
  • Reply 6 of 20
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    maestro64 said:
    Guess she got tired of playing and trying to sell electronics. I always wondered why she saw this as interesting coming form the fashion/retails space which is always changing. Can anyone say what the mark she has left on the Apple retail model. I not sure it change a whole lots since Job put forward his original vision. I personally seeing more stores trying to model what Jobs with the stores verse the other way around.
    She did bring about the "Today at Apple" events. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 7 of 20
    payecopayeco Posts: 301member
    Gruber pointed out something interesting yesterday. Angela Ahrendts did an interview with a Vogue Business just a week ago that does not sound at all like someone that is about to leave...

    https://daringfireball.net/linked/2019/02/05/ahrendts-business-vogue-profile
  • Reply 8 of 20
    payecopayeco Posts: 301member
    JanNL said:
    “Angela Ahrendts (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook” 🤔
    What?  She's on his left (from his perspective), but she's on the right side of the picture.
    That’s normally how it works. You list people from a viewers perspective, not the perspective of the people in the photo...
  • Reply 9 of 20
    The reaction to this announcement is similar to Cook’s recent investor letter. A lot of people projecting.  Seems to me though it’s pretty straightforward. Ahrendts chose to leave and Cook replaced her with someone who’s been involved in Apple retail since the beginning.
    patchythepirateAppleExposedrandominternetpersonn2itivguy
  • Reply 10 of 20
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 855unconfirmed, member
    maestro64 said:
    Guess she got tired of playing and trying to sell electronics. I always wondered why she saw this as interesting coming form the fashion/retails space which is always changing. Can anyone say what the mark she has left on the Apple retail model. I not sure it change a whole lots since Job put forward his original vision. I personally seeing more stores trying to model what Jobs with the stores verse the other way around.
    She brought the new natural designs of the Apple Stores which look far better IMO and those gigantic screens.
    lolliver
  • Reply 11 of 20
    JanNL said:
    “Angela Ahrendts (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook” 🤔
    What?  She's on his left (from his perspective), but she's on the right side of the picture.
    I got the impression it was more asking why it was necessary to specify which one was Ms. Ahrendts when it is pretty obvious.
    JanNLn2itivguy
  • Reply 12 of 20
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 259member
    78Bandit said:
    JanNL said:
    “Angela Ahrendts (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook” 🤔
    What?  She's on his left (from his perspective), but she's on the right side of the picture.
    I got the impression it was more asking why it was necessary to specify which one was Ms. Ahrendts when it is pretty obvious.
    Exactly! Made me laugh a bit to say "right", with 2 well known people (for us)... not important.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    Lets see how long she'll wear that Apple Watch after she's left.  :#
  • Reply 14 of 20
    The reaction to this announcement is similar to Cook’s recent investor letter. A lot of people projecting.  Seems to me though it’s pretty straightforward. Ahrendts chose to leave and Cook replaced her with someone who’s been involved in Apple retail since the beginning.
    I agree. It could also have been things such as health- or family-related reasons -- I am not suggesting that's the case, since I have no idea! -- for which people just politely use the euphemism of "personal reasons".

    It appears she left in good terms, and has been replaced with someone competent. Not much more to the story than that, at least for me.
    rogifan_newlolliver
  • Reply 15 of 20
    FolioFolio Posts: 552member
    70,000 in retail? Didn’t realize so high. Impressive that talent level high in stores. So if Apple employs 132,000 total, that seems to make it leaner than Google in sci tech programming employees if marketing, HR etc equal. Of course talent matters more than numbers, but...
  • Reply 16 of 20
    FolioFolio Posts: 552member
    In five years, I’m sure she had time to give her best ideas. And unlike Ives job it probably gets boring after five years. Eyewear and earwear won’t differ too much from a store vantage point. And she’s already conquered some of the best urban real estate on the planet. Hard to get excited about rolling out store No.587 in Sheboygan or Fresno.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    maestro64 said:
    Guess she got tired of playing and trying to sell electronics. I always wondered why she saw this as interesting coming form the fashion/retails space which is always changing. Can anyone say what the mark she has left on the Apple retail model. I not sure it change a whole lots since Job put forward his original vision. I personally seeing more stores trying to model what Jobs with the stores verse the other way around.
    The most overrated and overpaid person at apple.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    78Bandit said:
    JanNL said:
    “Angela Ahrendts (right) with Apple CEO Tim Cook” 🤔
    What?  She's on his left (from his perspective), but she's on the right side of the picture.
    I got the impression it was more asking why it was necessary to specify which one was Ms. Ahrendts when it is pretty obvious.
    D'oh, that makes sense.  Right, it's obvious who the dude is.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 738member
    stanhope said:
    maestro64 said:
    Guess she got tired of playing and trying to sell electronics. I always wondered why she saw this as interesting coming form the fashion/retails space which is always changing. Can anyone say what the mark she has left on the Apple retail model. I not sure it change a whole lots since Job put forward his original vision. I personally seeing more stores trying to model what Jobs with the stores verse the other way around.
    The most overrated and overpaid person at apple.
    ???
  • Reply 20 of 20
    This from 9to5mac

    "According to sources familiar with the matter, Ahrendts indicated in a team message that she may plan to step back from day-to-day management and lead a quieter life rather than take the reins of another company following her departure."

    randominternetpersonlolliver
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