Former Apple retail chief Ahrendts says 'mission accomplished,' denies reported criticisms...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 24
Speaking publicly for the first time since leaving Apple in April, Angela Ahrendts in an interview Friday reflected on her tenure as the company's head of retail, calling it "mission accomplished."

Ahrendts


In a remote with Bloomberg from the C2 Montreal international business conference, Ahrendts recapped her time at Apple, which saw the introduction of new initiatives like Today at Apple sessions.

"Steve's [Jobs] original vision was to enrich lives and he told the teams to always do it through education," Ahrendts said. "Our goal was really to put programs together that could help re-skill the current generation and help the next generation learn a lot of the liberal arts skills that I think Steve always envisioned that they would need and his products could provide."

The former executive considers the learning programs one of her greatest achievements at Apple, along with the rollout of flagship stores.

"There are incredible flagships in the pipeline for the next four years," Ahrendts revealed.

Apple's retail operation expanded under Ahrendts, with brick-and-mortar locations undergoing a so-called "Apple Store 2.0" revamp that involved a major design overhaul. An important element of the reworking is Today at Apple, a program that necessitated a new in-store section and created job openings for "Creatives."

When asked about a recent report detailing complaints about poor customer service due to aggressive brand expansion, Ahrendts demurred.

"I don't read any of it and none of it is based on fact, it's everyone trying to find stories, et cetera" Ahrendts said. "When I left, retention rates were at an all-time high, up over 20 points in the five years and NPS [Net Promoter Score] scores were at historic highs. Again, I know the facts and there's a lot of things that are written... didn't give any stories to anyone because it was just not how I am."

She went on to discuss iPhone, saying Apple's retail stores are "one of the smallest" sellers of the device due in part to a "very wide" distribution channel. The company's outlets are, however, the largest seller of Mac, Apple Watch, AirPods and other product categories.

Ahrendts summarized her stint at Apple as "mission accomplished," saying her team had a five-year plan that was executed with a "tremendous amount in the pipeline."

A video of Ahrendts' full interview can be viewed on Bloomberg's website.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 1,007member
    Well she's not exactly going to say her changes were for the worst is she...

    "I don't read any of it and none of it is based on fact, it's everyone trying to find stories, et cetera" Ahrendts said.

    "I don't read any of it" is a pretty damning thing to reveal, and is wrong for someone in her position. Sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "lalalala" isn't the way to run a business. Some specific scores may be up, but if overall customer experience is down, that's a failure. I'm sure some of those reports about poor Apple Store experience are a pile of doodoo, but there are plenty that are true. 
    edited May 24 kestralpulseimagesmacplusplus1stwonkothesanemike54bluefire1dysamoriaboredumb
  • Reply 2 of 57
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,871member
    She’s delusional 
    kestralpulseimagesmacplusplusmike54GeorgeBMacboredumb
  • Reply 3 of 57
    red oakred oak Posts: 678member
    She was shockingly over payed.  Another example of TC over paying for talent he believes fits his narrative 
    kestralpulseimagesmacplusplusmike54bloggerblogstanhope
  • Reply 4 of 57
    ivanhivanh Posts: 381member
    Luxury goods may not rest their value in durability or appreciation but craftsmanship and scarcity.  Apple surely won’t admit “planned obsolescence “ but stopping licensing of older OS versions sooner than hardware depletion,  Apple’s stock price based on mass production and sales. I don’t see Apple the place for this lady’s expertise.
  • Reply 5 of 57
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,194member
    Good for her.
    canukstormchasmrepressthis
  • Reply 6 of 57
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,194member
    red oak said:
    She was shockingly over payed.  Another example of TC over paying for talent he believes fits his narrative 
    How was she overpaid? The biggest org inside Apple is retail. The retail leader should be paid well.
    canukstormrepressthis
  • Reply 7 of 57
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,850member
    Personally all American executives are overpaid, and the rest of the world follows. I can’t figure out what to do about it, as most of the shareholder votes are tied up in funds who are of course, part of the same corporatist system, deeply in bed with paid for executives and politicians who are all part of the corporatist world. Big Business, Big Union, Big Government.

    As for Ahrendts, she basically quit five years to the day from start.  I expect that is how long she gave herself before planning to exit on her terms. 
    chasmrepressthismike54freediverxdysamoria
  • Reply 8 of 57
    pulseimagespulseimages Posts: 123member
    I liked how they got rid of the Genius Bar, the area was too small and only could allow 3-4 customers at a time at my local store to be waited on for technical help. Now they have you sit and wait at a variety of tables. The longest I’ve had to wait is 10-15 minutes.

     If they want to cut down on the confusion they should really color brand the t-shirts with the job the Apple employee is performing. Right now everyone is wearing a green t-shirt. Why not have the Geniuses wear red, sales staff wear green and check in staff wear yellow just to differentiate everyone. As it is the average customer doesn’t know who does what and believe me some Apple employees do cop an attitude when you ask a non sales staff for help. Some act like they’re curing Cancer or something. 

    I’m not sure you can blame poor job training only under her tenure with the company. There have been many times in the past where I have asked a passing Apple sales staff employee about a certain product only to hear “Sorry, that product isn’t in my realm of expertise. I’ll get someone else that can assist you.” What? You sell three basic lines: Macs, iPads and iPhones and this person couldn’t even give me the basics? 

    The quality of Geniuses also range as well. The second Genius I dealt with for my computer was a waste of time. All he did was do a clean install of the OS X, I could of done that at home and it still didn’t fix the issue. Plus that was the second time a clean install would of been performed.

    Now I picked up my computer today after the logic board was replaced for the second time and I asked the green shirt Apple person if this repair doesn’t fix the problem what’s the next step? Her reply was “I don’t know the exact next step but we’ll run tests and figure it out from there.” One clueless employee is one too many. 

    The 8K video screen on the wall is impressive but the people giving the different Talks about Design, Photography, etc. I’ve noticed are largely ignored if there isn’t a class but they keep right on yakking away. 
    dysamoria
  • Reply 9 of 57
    pulseimagespulseimages Posts: 123member
    elijahg said:
    Can't edit previous post due to crap forum software.

    Edit 2.0: Edit was actually successful despite post not showing as updated. Will AI ever replace this terrible forum software? /offtopic
    It’s been really buggy for me lately the last couple of days. I’m signed in, I go to comment but my iPhone’s keyboard won’t appear until I close out of the app a few times. Then it’s fine again. Very annoying. 
    repressthiselijahg
  • Reply 10 of 57
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,768member
    red oak said:
    She was shockingly over payed.  Another example of TC over paying for talent he believes fits his narrative 
    How was she overpaid? The biggest org inside Apple is retail. The retail leader should be paid well.
    As well as being in charge of one of the most aggressive bricks-and-mortar retail expansions in modern history, she was also in charge of the online shopping presence. 

    I suppose the people who’re rubbishing her think Browett was doing a good job. 
  • Reply 11 of 57
    1st1st Posts: 392member
    Hopefully she really think such way positively. Lost 1millipn due to Chinese student fraud under her watch is hard to remove from the record.  
  • Reply 12 of 57
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,768member
    elijahg said:
    Well she's not exactly going to say her changes were for the worst is she...

    "I don't read any of it and none of it is based on fact, it's everyone trying to find stories, et cetera" Ahrendts said.

    "I don't read any of it" is a pretty damning thing to reveal, and is wrong for someone in her position. Sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "lalalala" isn't the way to run a business. Some specific scores may be up, but if overall customer experience is down, that's a failure. I'm sure some of those reports about poor Apple Store experience are a pile of doodoo, but there are plenty that are true. 

    The report she was talking about came from Bloomberg. You know, the same rag that brought us the sci-fi super spy chip story, then ran and hid under a rock when asked to present their evidence. 

    If she spent her time reading inaccurate bumpf from the likes of Bloomberg then that’s time wasted. The report being referred to claims that things went downhill when she replaced checkout counters with roaming clerks.  The Apple Stores have never had checkout counters. 
    So what’s worse: ignoring information from questionable sources, or acting on it?
    repressthisfreediverxmacguidysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 57
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,671member
    I think she did a pretty stellar job. Apple Stores are the envy of the world for their design, they make gobs of cash, they are centres of education and delight AND they are the most profitable stores on the planet per square foot. Any of that sound like a "fail" to you?

    She didn't scrub Ron and Steve's vision, she built on it and contributed some great, lasting initiatives. She helped Lisa Jackson achieve the clean-energy goals, she incorporated open areas where people could just relax inside and outside the stores, and as she mentioned retention is higher than ever.

    People who diss her time at Apple need to point to some similar accomplishments before I'll take them at all seriously. Now that UK guy who was in before her ... THAT was a disaster ...
    repressthismacxpresslkruppmacguianantksundaramLordeHawk
  • Reply 14 of 57
    adamcadamc Posts: 576member
    Looks like as usual more negative than positive comments about well, everything Apple. If that is reality kind of wonder how did Apple sold/still selling so many of their products? If Apple products are so terrible why are these people still using their products and still here.
    macgui
  • Reply 15 of 57
    mike54mike54 Posts: 347member
    She was bad for Apple, a wrong hire, wasted mega-millions on this useless hire. But for her, she has come out of it very nicely indeed.
    "I don't read any of it and none of it..." She doesn't want to hear criticism because she doesn't care, and doesn't want to learn, was totally in it for herself.
    God help Airbnb when they get her.

    macplusplus1stGeorgeBMacelijahgcaladanian
  • Reply 16 of 57
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    Ohhh I miss Angela so.
    Every time I enter an AppleStore there’s that terrible void, that overwhelming silence, that horrific lack of a fashion perspective.
    For Tim it is near impossible to determine where all the millions should go that she absorbed so gratiously - in excess of the overall abundancy. I think all AppleStore’s need a dedication room to commemorate her.
    edited May 25
  • Reply 17 of 57
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,194member
    People keep saying they got rid of the Genius Bar but what did they really get rid of other than that sign? There are still dedicated areas where you go to have your product service. I recently had my iPhone screen replaced. The process was extremely slick. Someone at the front of the store with an iPad checked me in. I waited for less than 5 minutes when another store employee came to work my issue. I sat down at a table, shoes him my cracked phone and he started the replacement process. An hour later I was back at the store to pick up my phone. The experience couldn’t have been easier and everyone I interacted with was very friendly,
  • Reply 18 of 57
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,979member
    ivanh said:
    Luxury goods may not rest their value in durability or appreciation but craftsmanship and scarcity.  Apple surely won’t admit “planned obsolescence “ but stopping licensing of older OS versions sooner than hardware depletion,  Apple’s stock price based on mass production and sales. I don’t see Apple the place for this lady’s expertise.

    That has absolutely NOTHING to do with what she did. 
  • Reply 19 of 57
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,979member

    People keep saying they got rid of the Genius Bar but what did they really get rid of other than that sign? There are still dedicated areas where you go to have your product service. I recently had my iPhone screen replaced. The process was extremely slick. Someone at the front of the store with an iPad checked me in. I waited for less than 5 minutes when another store employee came to work my issue. I sat down at a table, shoes him my cracked phone and he started the replacement process. An hour later I was back at the store to pick up my phone. The experience couldn’t have been easier and everyone I interacted with was very friendly,
    People are just stuck in the past. The Genius Bar concept was great when it was mainly just Macs that went there and Apple was 1/4th the size it is today, but as soon as iPod, iPhone, and iPad became a thing along side the Mac, the Genius Bar concept quickly became a pain in the ass and wasn't very functional for what it needed to do anymore Making Genius Bars larger wasn't a solution either as all it did was buy Apple time as it continued to grow at a rapid pace. 
  • Reply 20 of 57
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 5,147member
    elijahg said:
    Well she's not exactly going to say her changes were for the worst is she...

    "I don't read any of it and none of it is based on fact, it's everyone trying to find stories, et cetera" Ahrendts said.

    "I don't read any of it" is a pretty damning thing to reveal, and is wrong for someone in her position. Sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "lalalala" isn't the way to run a business. Some specific scores may be up, but if overall customer experience is down, that's a failure. I'm sure some of those reports about poor Apple Store experience are a pile of doodoo, but there are plenty that are true. 
    So true!

    I find it bothersome that today's leaders so often tend to only hear what they want to hear, see only what they want to see -- and to bend truth and reality to suit their own purposes.
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