By Jeremy C. Owens, MarketWatch
Ahrendts to be replaced by longtime Apple exec who is also in charge of human resources
Less than six years after her high-profile hiring, Angela Ahrendts is leaving Apple Inc.
The former Burberry chief executive, whose 2013 arrival at Apple () was seen as a big push from the electronics company to transition into more of a luxury retail brand, is leaving her post as the head of retail in April. In its announcement, Apple said only that she was leaving for "new personal and professional pursuits."
"The last five years have been the most stimulating, challenging and fulfilling of my career," Ahrendts said in a statement in Apple's news release. "Through the teams' collective efforts, Retail has never been stronger or better positioned to make an even greater contribution for Apple."
Chief Executive Tim Cook said that Ahrendts would be replaced by Deirdre O'Brien, a longtime Apple executive who leads the company's human resources department. O'Brien will maintain her former position and now hold the title of "senior vice president of Retail + People," reporting to Cook.
"At Apple, we believe our soul is our people, and Deirdre understands the qualities and strengths of our team better than anyone," Cook said in the release. "For more than three decades, she has helped keep Apple focused on serving customers and enriching lives."
The move comes after a disappointing holiday season for Apple (), with iPhone sales coming up short of expectations amid difficulties in China. Apple stock is down 16.3% in the past six months, as the S&P 500 index has declined 4.1%. Shares dipped slightly in late trading Tuesday after the announcement, down between 0.1% and 0.2%.
"It was clear that Apple needed new strategies and a potential change on this front to catalyze demand in and outside the all-important retail stores for Apple," Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in an email exchange after the news was announced, adding that "we do not expect any transitional worries on the retail front."
"The launches for Apple's iPhone have been subpar and a new leader running the retail stores will be a linchpin of success going forward for Cook & Co.," added Ives, who has a buy rating and $200 price target on the stock.
-Jeremy C. Owens; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 06, 2019 06:53 ET (11:53 GMT)
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