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Airbnb adds former Apple exec Angela Ahrendts to its board

Apple's former retail head is the second woman to join the home rental site's board of directors.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Angela Ahrendts used to be the head of Apple retail.

Josh Miller/CNET

Airbnb said Thursday that Angela Ahrendts is joining its board of directors. She's Apple's former retail boss and is the second woman to join the home rental company's board. 

Airbnb wrote in a blog post that its goal is to have its board help it reimagine travel by "building an end-to-end travel platform that combines where you stay, what you do, and how you get there, all in one place." The company said Ahrendts will bring to its board expertise in creativity, community building and the ability to scale.

Ahrendts left Apple in April after working at the company for five years. She'd been the company's highest-ranking and highest-profile female executive since she joined the company in 2014. In her position as Apple's head of retail, Ahrendts oversaw more than 500 Apple stores in 25 countries. In addition to selling iPhones and Macs, she aimed to turn the stores into community gathering places. Before Apple, Ahrendts was the CEO of the luxury fashion brand Burberry.

"Angela has a reputation for pushing brands to dream big, and she told me that's exactly what she hopes to bring to Airbnb's board," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement. 

Chesky said last May that the company was planning to appoint at least one female board member in the upcoming year. He said his goal was to bring more diversity to the company's board. In August, former Disney and Pixar executive Ann Mather was the first woman added to Airbnb's board. 

The majority of Silicon Valley companies have boards of directors that are mostly all white and male. More than 92% of board seats in tech companies that haven't yet gone public are held by men, according to data compiled by theBoardlist, and more than 73% of those companies have zero women on their boards.

"I have known Brian, Joe and Nate for years," Ahrendts said in a statement, speaking of Airbnb's co-founders, "and have a deep admiration and respect for their vision, purpose and the positive impact they want Airbnb to make in communities all around the world."