Following Apple’s announcement that it is hiring Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to head up its retail and online store effort, CEO Tim Cook has sent an email to employees announcing the hire and giving some additional thoughts on Ahrendts and the hiring process. The full email has been posted by 9to5Mac.
I am thrilled to announce that Angela Ahrendts will be joining Apple as a senior vice president and member of our executive team, reporting directly to me. Angela is currently the CEO of Burberry.
She will lead both our retail and online teams. I have wanted one person to lead both of these teams for some time because I believe it will better serve our customers, but I had never met anyone whom I felt confident could lead both until I met Angela. We met for the first time last January, and I knew in that meeting that I wanted her to join Apple. We’ve gotten to know each other over the past several months and I’ve left each conversation even more impressed.
She shares our values and our focus on innovation. She places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people. She believes in enriching the lives of others and she is wicked smart. Angela has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record. She led Burberry through a period of phenomenal growth with a focus on brand, culture, core values and the power of positive energy.
Angela will need to focus over the coming months on transitioning her current role at Burberry and will then join Apple in the spring. I am sure as all of you meet her, you will see why I am so excited that she is joining our executive team. I’d like to add a special thanks to all of our retail leaders. Your strength, talent and leadership afforded me the luxury of taking the time to perform an exhaustive search to find the best person in the world for this role.
Ahrendts, who previously held positions at Donna Karan and Liz Claiborne, has been CEO of Burberry since 2006. Apple and Burberry last month worked together to film a Burberry fashion shoot entirely with Apple’s new iPhone 5s even before it had officially been released, allowing Apple to show off the high-quality camera included on the device.
Update: Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson told Bloomberg in a statement that Ahrendts is a “terrific choice” and she will be “exceptionally well received” at the company.