Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced yesterday that Burberry Group plc (LON: BRBY) CEO, Angela Ahrendts, will join the company to head its retail operations division. Apple has picked a plum as Ahrendts is widely credited with making Burberry profitable while giving the brand unprecedented global exposure. The 53 year old is slated to join Apple in the spring of 2014 as senior vice president of retail and online sales. The position is new within Apple. Ahrendts will be a vital member of the executive team reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook. Ms. Ahrendts has served as CEO of Burberry since 2006 almost tripling sales and quadrupling share price during her tenure.
I am thrilled that Angela will be joining our team,” said Cook. “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.”
I am profoundly honored to join Apple in this newly created position next year, and very much look forward to working with the global teams to further enrich the consumer experience on and offline,” said Ahrendts. “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.”
The loss of a CEO that has driven such a high level of success for the company has come as a blow to Burberry shareholders today. Share price has dipped substantially, losing almost 6.25 percent in value, dropping $98.98 in heavy volume at the time of this writing.
The news has temporarily stymied momentum for a company that has seen amazing growth under Ahrendts’ watch. Shares in Burberry have multiplied over 7.5 times in the past five years with Ms. Ahrendts overseeing a doubling in the company’s sales and a 250 percent overall jump in shares of the iconic British fashion house. The company announced today that Chris Baily, Chief Creative Officer will serve as Ahrendts’ replacement pulling dual duty as CEO and CCO.
As for Apple, shares are trading slightly higher today on below average volume, breaking through the $500 mark. It seems the news of Ahrendts’ defection to Apple is affecting Burberry shareholders more than it is affecting Apple’s.
Disclosure: The author has no position in the stocks mentioned in this article, and does not intend to initiate any position in the next 48 hours.