Update: Apple has refreshed its Leadership webpage to reflect O’Brien’s new role in retail.
After 5 years leading Apple’s retail initiatives, Angela Ahrendts will be stepping down as Apple’s senior vice president of Retail in April, according to Apple. In her place, Deirdre O’Brien is taking on the role of SVP of Retail + People.
Following the departure of short-lived hire John Browett in 2012, Angela Ahrendts joined Apple in 2014 from fashion company Burberry and led a dramatic redesign of the company’s retail stores, which now number 506 across the globe. Beyond shaping Apple’s physical spaces, she also spearheaded Today at Apple, an initiative of free educational and creative sessions held at every store worldwide.
In April, Ahrendts will step down from her current role for “new personal and professional pursuits,” according to Apple. In her place, Apple executive Deirdre O’Brien will take on new responsibilities under the title “senior vice president of Retail + People,” and report to Tim Cook. O’Brien was promoted in 2017 to VP of People.
While managing Apple’s global retail initiatives, O’Brien will continue to lead Apple’s People team. Apple says this includes “overseeing all People-related functions, including talent development and Apple University, recruiting, employee relations and experience, business partnership, benefits, compensation, and inclusion and diversity.” Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on O’Brien’s new role:
“At Apple, we believe our soul is our people, and Deirdre understands the qualities and strengths of our team better than anyone,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “For more than three decades, she has helped keep Apple focused on serving customers and enriching lives. She’s an exceptional leader and she’s been a vital partner to our retail teams around the world since the very beginning. I am thrilled to work alongside Deirdre in her new role, and I know our 70,000 retail employees will be, too.”
I want to thank Angela for inspiring and energizing our teams over the past five years. She has been a positive, transformative force, both for Apple’s stores and the communities they serve. We all wish her the very best as she begins a new chapter.
The last five years have been the most stimulating, challenging and fulfilling of my career. Through the teams’ collective efforts, Retail has never been stronger or better positioned to make an even greater contribution for Apple. I feel there is no better time to pass the baton to Deirdre, one of Apple’s strongest executives. I look forward to watching how this amazing team, under her leadership, will continue to change the world one person and one community at a time.
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A bittersweet set of announcements today. Angela, we thank you for all you’ve done to inspire and energize our teams. Deirdre, we can think of no one better to lead our stores and all of Apple’s people in their mission to change lives for the better. pic.twitter.com/PekF8rU9Qe
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) February 6, 2019