Apple announced this week that Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president, retail, would be leaving the company to pursue other personal and professional interests. She has been with the company and in the position for around five years.
I have been surprised by the number of people overjoyed with this announcement. Occasionally it has been Ms. Ahrendts enthusiasm and energy in the position that has kept me soldiering on through some of Apple’s rough spots over the past couple of years, and by “rough spots” I’m referring to security breaches and other particularly interesting bugs released to the wild.
As the leader of Apple’s retail ventures, Angela brought “Today At Apple” to their retail stores. Her vision of the Apple retail experience included transforming the Apple Store to “Town Squares”, where folks could hang out, learn about their Apple devices, chat with other Apple tech enthusiasts, and, if so inclined, buy something or get something fixed. The new Apple (I guess it’s no longer called Apple Store) on Michigan Avenue here in Chicago was a prime example of this. There’s lots of seating, I huge presentation area for “Today At Apple” seminars and, though I haven’t seen it in person, a conference area for business customers. I have occasionally seen folks out for a walk with Apple employees, taking photos along the Chicago River. Angela was very much a proponent of solidifying the human connection to Apple technology.
Many have been speculating as to why Angela is leaving the company. Is it because of the recent earnings announcement? Slowing iPhone sales? Is Tim Cook unhappy?
Honestly, even though Apple is a very public and publicly traded company, is it really our business as to why Angela is leaving? Apple retail has flourished for the past five years under her leadership. I often hear of folks complaining about wait times or stores being in disarray. Maybe I’ve been lucky to not have experienced this sort of thing. But truthfully I couldn’t care less as to why Angela is leaving. It’s really none of my business.
I’m sure there will be changes at Apple retail locations when Vice President of People Deirdre O’Brien takes over leadership for the division. I’m interested to see if the changes Angela made stay in place or if the locations go off in a new direction.
In the meanwhile, I wish Angela well in her new personal and professional endeavors.