Angela Ahrendts Leaves as Burberry CEO To Take On Apple Sales

Image: Angela Ahrendts Leaves as Burberry CEO To Take On Apple Sales

Tuesday, 15 Oct 2013 10:29 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Angela Ahrendts will be joining Apple, leaving her current post as CEO of the British luxury clothing company Burberry to take on the tech giant's retail and online sales.

The announcement was made Tuesday and is widely considered to be an attempt by the software giant to expand its operations in Asia, particularly China, where Ahrendts reportedly has good business connections.

Apple has struggled to gain a foothold in China, with recently disappointing sales for its inexpensive iPhone 5C, which was reportedly targeted for the Chinese consumer because of its affordability.

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Ahrendts, 53, will head the newly created title of senior vice president of retail and online sales, and will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, USA Today reported.

"I am thrilled that Angela will be joining our team," Cook said in a statement. "She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record."

The Indiana-born Ahrendts joined Burberry in January 2006 and $26.3 million in 2012, making her the highest paid CEO in the United Kingdom, CNN Money reported.

Ahrendts is known for having expanded the luxury brand's presence throughout China during her time at Burberry, which saw its market value increase to more than $11 billion in 212 from $3.3 billion in 2006, when she took over. The increase was largely due to more luxury good sales, particularly in Asia.

"She geared the expansion of Burberry to China and emerging markets," Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital in London, told CNN. "Ahrendts knows the emerging market world far better than most executives... that's why Tim Cook has chosen her."

Upon news that Ahrendts would be leaving Burberry, the company saw its stock price fall by more than 4 percent in London trading on Tuesday.

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It was not reported how much Ahrendts will earn through her contract with Apple. She will now join the ranks of Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer as high profile women executives in technology in the U.S., CNN Money noted.

Related stories:

Study: Apple, Google Top List of Global Brand Rankings in 2013

Burberry's Warning Sends Shiver Through Luxury Sector

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