Angela Ahrendts was ‘incredibly insecure’ about joining Apple

By

Angela Ahrendts.
Ahrendts at an iPhone keynote during her tenure at Apple.
Screenshot: Apple

Apple’s former retail boss Angela Ahrendts was one of Apple’s most well-compensated executives during her time at the company. But in her first interview since parting ways with Apple, Ahrendts reveals how worried she was initially about joining.

“I was, on my own accord, incredibly insecure,” she told LinkedIn’s Hello Monday podcast. “I’m 54 years old, and it’s Apple, for God’s sake! I don’t speak that language. I am not a left-brain engineer operator. I mean, I could talk myself out of it forever.”

She says that she largely stayed quiet or her first six months at Apple, so as to listen to what was going on around her. Buoyed by Tim Cook’s faith in her, Ahrendts told herself that, “they wanted you for a reason.”

Ahrendts then pulled out three lessons from her time at Apple. One was to “never forget where you come from,” referencing her own history before joining. The second was to move quickly with decisions. “They expect your leadership to be just like that because that’s the world they are living in today,” she said. “You can’t wait.”

Finally, she said that she should “never forget that you have a greater responsibility” than just selling product. This is where the idea of making Apple Stores into town squares, complete with daily lessons on offer to customers. She said that this focus on liberal arts was, “what was missing in the stores” previously.

Ahrendts’ time at Apple

Angela Ahrendts joined Apple from Burberry in 2014. At the time, some commentators even suggested that she may be a potential future CEO for the company. She commanded a big signing bonus and lucrative stock options. She then oversaw the redesign of the Apple Stores (think trees!) and the massive growth of stores in China.

Without much explanation, she left Apple earlier this year. It is not clear whether she left Apple voluntarily or was pushed out. Unfortunately, the exact circumstances are not elaborated on during her Hello Monday podcast appearance.

Nonetheless, if you want to hear more from Ahrendts, you can check out her 30-minute podcast interview here.