Apple products have always been associated with the fashionable high end; even the recent $99 iPhone 5c is a chic accessory for the masses. So the news that Apple just hired former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as senior vice president of its retail operations makes sense. Ahrendts has been credited with turning around Burberry — long known for its sturdy if staid trench coats — and making it a coveted luxury brand among the younger preppy set. Burberry now sells everything from duffel bags and silk T-shirts to cashmere hot-water-bottle covers and cosmetics.
But, as Bloomberg Businessweek tells us, Ahrendts is hardly a snooty elite who knows only galas and private jets:
Ahrendts is professionally fancy, but personally more down to earth. Born in New Palestine, Ind., Ahrendts graduated from Ball State University, the alma mater of David Letterman and Oprah-companion Stedman Graham. In what might surprise watchers of both fashion and tech worlds, Ahrendts is an active Christian who reads the Bible daily and wears a cross around her neck.
Apple execs probably noted her passion for Apple while she was running Burberry. In a 2010 Wall Street Journal profile, Ahrendts said, “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.” And Ahrendt is not Apple’s first fashion hire: In July, they nabbed Paul Deneve, who had been CEO of Yves Saint Laurent, and made him vice president of special projects.
Big bonus to those keeping score: Ahrendts is — gasp! — the only female in Apple’s executive ranks.