Tuesday 5 February 2019 10:37 pm

Apple turnover: Former Burberry chief to leave executive role at iPhone maker

Former Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts is to leave her role as Apple's head of retail in April, after five years at the company.

Having led Apple's retail and online stores, Ahrendts will now be chasing “new personal and professional pursuits”.

It was revealed last month that Ahrendts received a total pay packet of $5m (£3.9m) from Apple in 2018, making her one of the company's highest paid executives.

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Vice president of people Deirdre O'Brien, who has been at Apple for three decades, will take over Ahrendt's role in a new, combined position as vice president of retail and people. 

Apple said O'Brien will continue to lead the people team, overseeing functions such as talent development, recruiting, employee relations and diversity.

"At Apple, we believe our soul is our people, and Deirdre understands the qualities and strengths of our team better than anyone," said Apple chief executive Tim Cook, who thanked Ahrendts for her service.

"For more than three decades, she has helped keep Apple focused on serving customers and enriching lives. She's an exceptional leader and she's been a vital partner to our retail teams around the world since the very beginning. I am thrilled to work alongside Deirdre in her new role, and I know our 70,000 retail employees will be, too."

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Apple's global retail empire spans 35 online stores and 506 physical stores on five continents.

Ahrendts said in an interview with Vogue last month that she missed her time in fashion, but that she had felt a "calling" to work at Apple.

"The last five years have been the most stimulating, challenging and fulfilling of my career. Through the teams' collective efforts, Retail has never been stronger or better positioned to make an even greater contribution for Apple," said Ahrendts.

"I feel there is no better time to pass the baton to Deirdre, one of Apple's strongest executives. I look forward to watching how this amazing team, under her leadership, will continue to change the world one person and one community at a time."