In her seven years at Burberry, Ms Ahrendts, an American, transformed the British fashion label into a global luxury brand. The drop in the company’s share price on news of her departure is a sign of just how much she is thought of in the City.
She is also well regarded within the company too, no doubt helped by the fact that Burberry’s market value has risen from £2.1bn to £7.03bn, since she joined the company in 2006. And last year, Ms Ahrendts took home £16.9m – the highest paycheck last year out of any FTSE 100 chief executive – to little complaint. She now leaves just two female chief executives among the FTSE 100.
Ms Ahrendts said she was “profoundly honoured” to be joining Apple, where she will report to Chief Executive Tim Cook and be responsible for growing the group’s retail presence.
“I have always admired the innovation and impact Apple products and services have on people’s lives and hope in some small way I can help contribute to the company’s continued success and leadership in changing the world,” she said.
So what does her appointment say about the direction Apple is heading in?
She is just the latest hire from the fashion industry in a matter of months. In July, the tech giant poached Paul Deneve from his position as CEO at Yves Saint Laurent, making him vice-president of “special projects”. They also hired the senior vice-president at Levi’s, Enrique Atienza, to take over Apple’s retail arm in the US, and Nike design director Ben Shaffer was also taken on board last month.