5 reasons Angela Ahrendts is right for Apple retail

Apple [AAPL] has hired Burberry CEO, Angela Ahrendts to lead its retail operations -- there's at least five good reasons why:

5 reasons Apple hired Burberry's Angela Ahrendts

1. She's very talented

Just look at the evidence:

Ahrendts trebled Burberry's brand value in eight years, transforming it into a global name. Investors know this: Apple's shares gained almost as much as Burberry's value declined when the hire was announced.

In her role you can anticipate Ahrendts will "get" the way the company does retail -- it's not sales, but about forging connections between company and customers that counts.

As I wrote in July:

"The company needs a visionary evangelist to lead its retail chain. It needs a leader who is both inspired by Apple's technological significance and who understands the value of the company's user-centric philosophy. They must care about customers, value store staff and be able to lead, motivate and inspire."

The role requires philosophical fit.

2. Philosophical fit

What is creativity? What is the value of design? Energy?

Ahrendts on energy:

"Think of energy almost like emotional electricity. It has a powerful way of uniting ordinary people, their connected spirit, to do extraordinary things."

Tim Cook on Ahrendts:

"She shares our values and our focus on innovation. She places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people. She believes in enriching the lives of others and she is wicked smart. Angela has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record. She led Burberry through a period of phenomenal growth with a focus on brand, culture, core values and the power of positive energy."

3. Apple's in fashion

"Where the puck is going." Where is it going?

Technology is becoming pervasive across human experience. Wearable computing is the next inevitable step. This makes it inevitable fashion will become more important to Apple's position at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts.

Apple's retail chain is the catwalk for this evolution.

4. Tech needs women

There aren't enough women at the tech top table.  This goes beyond technology. Despite accounting for 46.6 percent of the US labor force, women occupied just 16.1 percent of senior leadership roles in the Fortune 500 in 2011, says Catalyst.org.

This lack of female representation must change. Today technology is everywhere and women have a right to play an equal part in its evolution.

5. She's already there

Ahrendts gets it. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal Magazine in 2010, she explained Burberry's strategy:

”If I look to any company as a model, it’s Apple. They’re a brilliant design company working to create a lifestyle, and that’s the way I see us.”

She's a classic example of how world-class executive talent must combine philosophical vision with the ability to make that vision real.

Modern business is dependent on far more complex factors than simple market share. Anyone can sell lots of low cost products; few can sell a few products at a sustainable price.

Ahrendts will aim to do just that.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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