Ahrendts Might Come to Apple Later Than Expected

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24359360@N04/

It’s starting to look uncertain when Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) new retail head, Angela Ahrendts, will leave the helm of British fashion house Burberry to join the Cupertino, California-based tech company, U.K. paper The Guardian reports. When Ahrendts’s hire was announced last fall, Apple said she would join the company sometime in the spring.

The Guardian says that Burberry has yet to confirm when Ahrendts is leaving the company, and she’s due for a pretty sizeable bonus in June, so she might stick around until early summer. While Ahrendts will be technically free to leave the company in April, she may stay both to collect that bonus related to her performance over the past couple of years and to help ready Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey to take the helm of the fashion retailer.

According to The Guardian, some Burberry investors are concerned that Bailey has more to learn from Ahrendts until he’ll be ready to run the company on his own. During her eight-year reign at the firm, Ahrendts caused Burberry’s sales to more than double, so Bailey has some big shoes to fill when she finally does leave.

At Apple, Ahrendts will take the senior vice president of retail of online stores position and report directly to CEO Tim Cook. That position has been vacant for a year and a half after retail chief John Browett was fired in 2012, AppleInsider said. According to the publication, Ahrendts will have more responsibility than previous retail heads, being put in charge of both brick-and-mortar and online retail operations.

Apple has some pretty high hopes for Ahrendts, and some have even speculated that she may be groomed to eventually replace Tim Cook as CEO. During her time at Burberry, Ahrendts was able to merge the company’s online and retail stores into a seamless experience for the consumer and create a corporate culture that was more rewarding for employees. Browett instated some controversial measures at the tech giant, including cutting staff and reducing employee hours at Apple Stores. It’s hoped that Ahrendts can appease employees and continue the great success Apple has seen with its retail locations.

Choosing an executive with a long history in high fashion might seem like an odd choice for a tech company, but Apple’s dedication to making itself into a tech luxury brand makes her a good fit. Burberry’s iconic trench coats run upwards of $1,500, and the company’s trendy scarves cost close to $900. If Ahrendts can get people to pay so much for brand recognition and what the company insists is unparalleled quality in fashion, then maybe she can convince consumers that a $300 subsidized iPhone 6 is worth the hefty price, as well.

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