Apple’s new head of retail, Angela Ahrendts, has outlined her personal business philosophy in a recent LinkedIn post, in which she also shares details concerning her transition from chief executive officer of the fashion label Burberry to senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores at Apple.
Titled “Why a Successful Transition is a Great Legacy,” the post sees Ahrendts reflect on her time at Burberry – an eight-year period, during which the chief executive officer is credited with transforming the label, and particularly its retail presence in both Britain and internationally.
For those interested in Apple, however, the post also shares information on how Ahrendts is planning on approaching her position with the Cupertino, Calif. company. Building on her time at Burberry, then, the incoming senior vice president explains:
So the experience of the past eight years has served to reinforce my firm belief that ‘it’s all about people’. And this has never been in sharper focus than in recent weeks, as we have begun the process of transitioning to new leadership at Burberry.
Too often management transitions are viewed with fear or suspicion, when they should be the ultimate example of a natural and healthy organizational evolution. In fact, I believe succession planning is one of the greatest responsibilities you have as a leader – so when your time comes to move on, your team not only doesn’t miss a beat but gains in momentum, embracing new challenges and realizing future opportunities.
Earlier this year we heard that Apple was only considering external candidates for the role, but still hadn’t found the right fit. The news came at the same time Apple Retail Stores reported their first drop in sales in four years.
Ahrendts is a firm believer in the use of technology in retail environments, and has transformed Burberry stores to offer customers more unified retail and online storefronts. In Burberry retail stores, for example, customers can check on their online shopping history using tablet-like computers, and can save products for later viewing or to purchase at a later date. The company also makes it easier for customers to take a closer look at items they’ve noticed while browsing online.
The hiring of Ahrendts comes at a crucial time for Apple. The Cupertino, Calif. company’s Apple Retail Stores are known to be losing momentum, and during the fourth quarter of the present fiscal year sales at Apple’s retail locations are confirmed to have dropped 3.3 percent.
This comes following a further year-over-year drop of 9.6 percent for the third quarter of 2013.
Ahrendts concludes her post thus:
If a seamless transition is my greatest legacy, then the greatest gift I can receive in return is to see the true measure of the company’s success by how many lives are touched and transformed by the power of our performance.
She is expected to join Apple as its senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores in spring next year. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
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