Fell From the Tree

Apple Hires New SVP of Retail and Online Stores

Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry.

Two things stand out to me about this move.

First, the creation of this new position makes sense considering the executive reorganization last year. Tim is very focused on getting similar areas of the company under the same umbrella to increase collaboration. This could lead to a more consistent shopping experience both online and off — something we definitely did not have in the stores during my time there.

Second, Apple went for the head of a luxury brand, which is a good sign. Tim had to be very careful here. His first big hire for this role was a disaster. When they hired Browett, his thinking was more in line with Tim’s: operational efficiency. He was eventually let go after being on the job less than a year. The second person better not fail or there will be serious doubt in Tim’s ability to build a quality team if current members leave. According to Tim:

She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience.

Perhaps now the stores will renew their focus on customer experience. The stores have been running without a leader since John Browett left nearly a year ago, and without a successful leader since Ron Johnson left in late 2011. It’s going to take some time, but we’ll see what kind of difference this moves makes a year from now.