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Apple hires Burberry CEO as new retail chief

Angela Ahrendts, who has led the luxury fashion brand for the past seven years, will join Apple's executive team in the spring. She'll oversee both the retail and the online stores.

Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts.
Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Apple announced late Monday that it has hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to head its retail efforts, filling a position that has been vacant for nearly a year.

Ahrendts will join Apple in the spring in what the company described as a newly created executive-level position of senior vice president reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook. She'll oversee the growth and operation of both Apple's retail and its online stores.

"I am profoundly honored to join Apple in this newly created position next year, and very much look forward to working with the global teams to further enrich the consumer experience on and offline," Ahrendts said in a statement. "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."

Last month, Apple used a Burberry fashion event to show off the photo and video capabilities of its new iPhone 5S, several days before that new flagship smartphone went on sale to the public.

Ostensibly, Ahrendts replaces John Browett, who left Apple last October after just six months at the company during a shakeup that included the departure of iOS software chief Scott Forstall and expanded roles for Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue, and Craig Federighi. It had taken Apple more than seven months to hire Browett after Ron Johnson departed to become the chief executive at retailer J.C. Penney, a role of which he was relieved in April.

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 is not Apple's first recruit from the fashion industry. In July, the company hired Paul Deneve, the former CEO of luxury fashion goods company Yves Saint Laurent, to work on "special projects."