Burberry Boss Angela Ahrendts To Join Apple
Burberry has shocked the market by confirming its respected chief executive Angela Ahrendts is to leave the luxury goods firm next year to join Apple.
The company confirmed she would be replaced by chief creative officer Christopher Bailey by mid-2014 and that Bailey would assume both roles.
Ahrendts, who is 53 and originates from the United States, will assume a title of senior vice president of retail and online stores at Apple - a new position - and will report directly to CEO Tim Cook.
He said of the appointment that Ahrendts shared Apple's focus on innovation and customer experience and was an "extraordinary leader with a proven track record."
She responded: "I have always admired the innovation and impact Apple products and services have on people's lives and hope in some small way I can help contribute to the company's continued success and leadership in changing the world."
News of her departure saw Burberry stock lose 6% when trading began on the FTSE 100 on Tuesday morning.
Over the last five years, its share price has risen by more than 400% under her leadership.
Ahrendts said: "Burberry is in brilliant shape, having built the industry's most powerful management team, converted the business to a dynamic digital global retailer, created a world class supply chain, state of the art technology infrastructure, sensational brand momentum and one of the most closely connected creative cultures in the world today.
"It has been an honour to have partnered with Sir John Peace (chairman) and Christopher for the last eight years.
"I am confident that, with Sir John's continued guidance and the executive team's support, Christopher, as one of this generation's greatest visionaries, will continue to lead Burberry to new heights.
"Today, Burberry is not only a great brand, but a truly great company," she concluded.
Her successor has been at Burberry since 2001 and has held the major creative role for six years.
Burberry also updated the market on its first half progress, saying its retail revenue rose 17% to £694m in the six months to Sept. 30 - in line with analysts' forecasts.
Retail sales from stores open at least a year grew by 13%, helped by double digit growth in Asia Pacific and the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) division region and high single digit growth in the Americas.
Total revenue was £1.03bn pounds, up 14%.
Ahrendts' departure leaves Carolyn McCall and Alison Cooper, the bosses of budget airline easyJet and cigarette firm Imperial Tobacco respectively, as the only remaining female chief executives heading Britain's biggest listed companies.
She has spent a total of ten years with Burberry, transforming it into a global luxury brand with a growing presence in emerging markets.
It has been suggested that her success in growing Burberry in Asia - particularly China - will have been attractive to Apple which has struggled to secure the market penetration enjoyed there by many of the iPhone and iPad-maker's rivals.