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Apple welcomes new retail chief Ahrendts with $68M stock grant

The company awarded former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts a grant of 113,334 restricted stock units during her first week on the job.

Greg Sandoval/CNET

Apple welcomed its new retail chief Angela Ahrendts to the company with a stock options grant worth about $68 million, the company revealed Monday.

Ahrendts, who was hired by Apple last October but joined the company only last week, was awarded a grant of 113,334 restricted stock units worth about $68 million based on Apple's closing stock price Monday of $600.96. However, she will have to wait for a big pay day; her options do not fully vest until 2018. By comparison, Ahrendts' predecessor, John Browlett, was awarded 100,000 restricted shares worth about $60 million when he was hired in January 2012.

Although Ahrendts was hired for what the company described as a newly created executive level position, she was ostensibly hired to replace Browlett, who left Apple in October 2012 after just six months at the company during a shakeup that included the departure of iOS software chief Scott Forstall. Before taking the helm at the British luxury fashion brand in 2006, Ahrendts had extensive experience in the fashion industry, serving as an executive vice president at Liz Claiborne and president of Donna Karan International.

Ahrendts, who was CEO at luxury fashion company Burberry before being hired by Apple last year, will lead Apple's entire retail push and is expected by many analysts to focus much of her time on expanding the company's retail footprint internationally. Her arrival comes at a critical time for the Cupertino, Calif., company. Its March quarter saw strong profits aided by surprisingly strong iPhone sales, but its iPad sales and revenue forecast were disappointing.

Meanwhile, sales growth at Apple's stores has slowed. In Apple's fiscal 2013, which ended Sept. 28, retail sales rose only 7 percent to $20.23 billion, a much lower growth rate than the 33 percent increase seen in 2012, 44 percent in 2011, and 47 percent in 2010.