- Born: June 12, 1960 in New Palestine, Indiana.
Angela Ahrendts, DBE (born June 12, 1960) is an American businesswoman. She has been the CEO of Burberry since 2006. On October 14, 2013 it was confirmed that she will join Apple Inc in mid-2014 to head its retail. Ahrendts was ranked 53rd in Forbes’ 2013 list of the most powerful women in the world.
One of six children, Ahrendts was born and raised in New Palestine, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis. She earned an undergraduate degree in Merchandising and Marketing from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. In 2010, she received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Ball State.
Leaving Indiana on a one-way ticket the day after her college graduation, she arrived in New York City determined to make it in the fashion industry. After a series of positions including merchandising at bra maker Warnaco, Ahrendts joined Donna Karan International in 1989, working to develop the luxury brand internationally through both wholesale and licensing. In 1996 she was hired at Henri Bendel by Leslie Wexner to expand Bendel stores to 50 new markets, but the project was cancelled by the board of directors two years later.
In 1998, she joined Fifth & Pacific Companies as Vice President of Corporate Merchandising and Design. In 2001, she was promoted to Senior Vice President Corporate Merchandising and Group President, responsible for the merchandising of the groups 20 plus brands including Laundry by Shelli Segal, Lucky Brand Dungarees and the mens retail business of Liz Claiborne Inc. From 2002 she was promoted again to serve as Executive Vice President, with full responsibility for the complete line of Liz Claiborne products, services and development across both womens and mens lines.
Ahrendts joined Burberry in January 2006, and took up the position of CEO on July 1, 2006 replacing Rose Marie Bravo. Ahrendts mitigated the brand’s decline in prestige by immediately limiting the number of clothing and accessories carrying the Burberry check pattern to 10%, minimizing the damage ubiquitous counterfeits had caused to sales. She also oversaw the buying out of the Spanish franchise which was then generating 20% of group revenues to stop its unfettered licensing. Ahrendts says she does not model her approach after any other fashion house, but looks to world class design as an influence including Apple Inc.. The company value rose during her tenure from £2 billion to over £7 billion. CNN Money reported that during 2012, she was the highest paid CEO in the UK, making $26.3 million.
On October 15, 2013 it was announced that Ahrendts will leave Burberry in Spring 2014 to join Apple Inc. as a member of its executive team as Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores.
Ahrendts met her husband Gregg in elementary school. They married in their 30s after a 17-year long-distance relationship. The couple have three children, and presently live in a 12,000 square feet home on an 8 acres plot west of London. Brought up a Methodist, she is still an active Christian.
Awards & Memberships
Awards and memberships
- Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Honorary Fellow (2011)
- St George’s Society of New York, Medal of Honor (2011)
- Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group, Member (2010–present)
- CNBC European Business Leader of the Future (2010)
- Oracle World Retail Awards, Outstanding Leadership Award (2010)
- Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011)
- Fortune’s Businesspeople of the Year (2010)
- Financial Times Top 50 Women in World Business (2010, 2011)
- Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business (2007, 2008, 2011)
- Crain’s New York Rising Stars 40 under 40 (2000)
- In February 2013 she was assessed as the 9th most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
- Ranked #4 in Fortune’s 2013 top people in business
- Awarded The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a DBE for her services to business. (2014)