Angela Ahrendts will leave Apple in April; Deirdre O’Brien will take over as senior VP of retail and people [atualizado 2x]

Angela Ahrendts stepped down as Burberry’s CEO to become Apple’s senior vice president of retail in 2013. Now, five years later, she is leaving the company.

In a press release, Apple said that Deirdre O’Brien will assume all the responsibilities related to the company’s retail and online stores – she is currently vice president of people and, with the promotion, she will accumulate both functions, rising to the “senior” level.

O’Brien – who will report directly to CEO Tim Cook – has owned Apple for three decades, so he knows the company like few others. With the new position, she will be “responsible for leading the company’s global retail reach, focusing on the connection between the customer and the people and processes that serve them”. In parallel, she will continue to lead the team of people, overseeing all related functions – including talent development and Apple University, recruitment, employee relations and experience, business partnership, benefits, compensation, inclusion and diversity.

Here is Cook’s statement:

At Apple, we believe that our soul is our people, and Deirdre understands our team’s qualities and strengths better than anyone. For more than three decades, it has helped keep Apple focused on serving customers and enriching lives. She is an exceptional leader and has been a vital partner for retail teams around the world from the beginning. I am very happy to work alongside Deirdre in his new role and I know that our 70,000 retail employees will also be there.

Below, O’Brien’s:

People come to Apple to do the best job of their lives, and our retail teams show their passion every day, in every interaction, around the world. It is the opportunity of a lifetime to work and learn from such a talented, diverse and imaginative team. I look forward to this journey and to continuing the important work of the People team in supporting all of Apple’s amazing employees.

Currently, Apple has 35 online stores and 506 physical stores on 5 continents (including 2 here in Brazil) – and all this, now, will also be led by O’Brien.

In the statement, Cook made a point of thanking Ahrendts for “inspiring and energizing” the company’s teams over the past five years. “It has been a positive and transformative force, both for Apple stores and for the communities they serve. We all wish her the best in this new chapter. ”

Here is Ahrendts’ statement:

The past five years have been the most exciting, challenging and rewarding of my career. Through the collective efforts of the teams, retail has never been stronger or better positioned to make an even greater contribution to Apple. I feel like there’s no better time to pass the baton to Deirdre, one of Apple’s strongest executives. I look forward to seeing how this incredible team, under your leadership, will continue to change the world, one person and one community at a time.

It is clear that Ahrendts is not retiring – we will see if she will return to the fashion market or continue in the technology sector.

We will probably not know for sure until April, when Ahrendts will in fact leave his position as senior retail VP at Apple.

Update Feb 6, 2019 at 00:48

Apple shared some photos of the two executives (alongside Cook) talking to employees about this new step in the company’s retail.

The CEO also went to Twitter to thank Ahrendts and congratulate O’Brien:

A set of bittersweet ads today. Angela, we thank you for everything you have done to inspire and energize our teams. Deirdre, we can’t think of anyone better to lead our stores and everyone at Apple on their mission to change lives for the better.

Deirdre O'Brien

The company has already tried to update its leadership page, listing O’Brien as a new senior executive.

Update II Feb 6, 2019 at 15:25

As always, Tim Cook sent an internal memo to Apple employees – which we translate below:


I am writing to inform you of an important change in leadership. Today we are announcing the promotion of one of the most passionate and experienced advocates for our customers and employees at Apple – and the departure of a much-loved and accomplished leader who played a transforming role in shaping Apple’s retail experiences.

After five years leading Apple’s retail and online stores, Angela Ahrendts plans to leave Apple in April for new personal and professional activities. Angela inspired and energized our retail teams with the vision of stores as a place where the best of Apple comes together to serve customers and communities. During his tenure, the store experience was redefined with programs like “Today at Apple” and our relationship with customers is stronger than ever.

This transition gives us the opportunity to reinforce and carry forward the values ​​that make our retail and online stores the best in the world – and our mission to enrich other people’s lives. As I’ve said many times, Apple’s greatest asset is its people. And with that in mind, the best choice to lead our team became clear very quickly.

I am delighted to announce that Deirdre O’Brien will take responsibility for our retail teams in a new role as senior vice president of Retail + People. Deirdre brings a vision and experience acquired over 30 years at Apple – decades dedicated to focusing on the connection between customers, people and processes that serve them. Working collaboratively at Apple, Deirdre and his teams empower people to lead with purpose and humanity.

Deirdre was part of the team that planned and launched Apple’s first online and retail stores. It has been part of the exciting expansion of retail and all product launches since then. She knows the value of the deep human connections that retail experiences make possible – and she knows that this is where Apple shows its heart and soul.

In her role as vice president of people, Deirdre and her team brought a high focus to the way Apple inspires, connects, develops and cares for its employees – essential efforts that it will continue to focus on across the company with the team of people in your new role.

As we look for new ways to elevate our experiences in the store and online, establishing deeper relationships with customers who love our products, I believe that our team, at all levels, is the best in the business. I am grateful to Angela for everything she has done for Apple and I look forward to what Deirdre will do in her new role.

To everyone in retail and our employees around the world, thank you for everything you do to help dreamers become achievers, expand human potential and do the best job of our lives.


No really new information has been shared, but it’s interesting to see how Ahrendts is coming out the front door and how, apparently, Cook didn’t even think twice about choosing a person from Apple himself to take over the new position (something that hasn’t happened in the last few exchanges of command for the position of senior retail VP).

via Business Insider