Angela Ahrendts, head of Apple (AAPL) Retail, is leaving the company in April after a five-year tenure.
While we view Apple’s physical retail experience as the best in tech, there’s room for improvement. The Genius Bar is a victim of its own success and wait times are lengthy; the time it takes to make a purchase in-store is also too long.
That said, we believe the move is more Ahrendts’ decision than it is Apple’s. She is 58 years old, she’s been financially successful, and she’s unlikely to be CEO.
Ahrendts will be replaced by Deirdre O’Brien who is currently Apple’s head of People. O’Brien will assume dual roles, running both Retail and People, reporting directly to Tim Cook. The combination of Retail and People makes sense to us, given Retail is Apple’s largest group by headcount accounting for just over half of all full-time equivalent employees. Based on O’Brien’s 30-year tenure at Apple, we expect her role to be permanent.
Ahrendts’ signature accomplishment has been the unification of Apple’s offline and online retail experiences; she also advanced the Today at Apple in-store experience. Apple Retail took big steps forward under her leadership, but we’re excited to see what’s next for Apple Retail under new leadership. Disclaimer: We actively write about the themes in which we invest or may invest: virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics. From time to time, we may write about companies that are in our portfolio. As managers of the portfolio, we may earn carried interest, management fees or other compensation from such portfolio.