Angela Ahrendts is one of the world’s most high-profile businesswomen and, in 2013, was the highest paid chief executive at a FTSE 100 company, a direct result of the commercial success enjoyed by Burberry since she joined the British brand in 2006, overseeing its emergence as one of the largest and most profitable luxury goods companies in the world.
Angela Ahrendts is set to exit her role as Burberry's chief executive officer in mid-2014 to join Apple as the company's new head of retail.
Upon joining Burberry, Ahrendts shut down 35 product categories, many featuring the widely recognisable Burberry check, as part of her efforts to recast the enterprise as an "inviting luxury company" after years of over-licensing and brand dilution.
Since then, she has overseen the launch of new product lines and the buyback of Burberry’s beauty licenses. She masterminded and managed the company’s retail roll-out into new markets and was an early proponent of the Internet, investing heavily in the company’s e-commerce capabilities, digital marketing presence and in-store technology.
Along the way, Ahrendts has strived to build what she dubs a “connected culture” at the company, not least by interacting directly with employees through dedicated instant messaging channel Burberry Chat. Ahrendts even brought in an anthropologist to study the company culture she helped create, so as to better understand and preserve it.
Before joining Burberry, Ahrendts was executive vice president at Liz Claiborne, where she joined the executive team in 1998. During her tenure, she oversaw the contemporary, casual, bridge and menswear businesses, comprising more than 20 brands and representing 40 percent of total company revenues. Prior to Liz Claiborne, she spent six years as president of Donna Karan International from 1989 to 1996 and spent one year at Henri Bendel.
Ahrendts graduated with a bachelor's with honours in marketing and merchandising from Ball State University, Indiana. She is married with three children.
Outgoing Chief Executive2006 - Present, London, United Kingdom
Executive Vice President1998 - 2006, New York, United States