FORTUNE -- Angela Ahrendts was happy to be interviewed last summer by Jeff Chu -- my former Time Magazine colleague -- while she was still running Burberry (BURBY).
That door slammed shut the day Apple (AAPL) announced that she had been hired to run Cupertino's retail empire. But by then Chu had gathered enough material to put together the best profile yet on Apple's first female senior vice president since 2006 -- a C-level star who shines so bright that after she was hired Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, a onetime Apple intern, tweeted
"I just saw Future Apple CEO @AngelaAhrendts on her farewell @Burberry tour! The most important hire Tim Cook has ever made!"
Chu offers some fresh details about what Ahrendts is expected to bring to Apple (hint: not stylish computer wearables), but what interested me most was what Chu learned about the search criteria Tim Cook gave the recruiting firm Egon Zehnder after Cook's first choice to run Apple Retail -- John Browett -- crashed and burned. An excerpt:
Cook frequently uses the term wicked smart to describe the people who already work at Apple, as well as the ones whom he wants to work at Apple, and Browett fit. Problem was, he proved less deft at navigating Apple's often ferocious executive environment. "John was definitely wicked smart," says someone who has worked with both men. "But even wicked-smart people don't necessarily know how to figure out a culture..."
Following Browett's departure ... Apple once again turned to Egon Zehnder. The criteria didn't really change, but the priorities did. There were "big learnings when John didn't work out," says one company insider. "Wicked smart" was redefined more broadly and carefully. People skills and the ability to shape--as well as adapt to--culture "became more paramount."
In a companywide email announcing Ahrendts's hiring, Cook wrote that she "places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience." But he also added, significantly, that "she cares deeply about people and embraces our view that our most important resource and our soul is our people." (Of course, she was also deemed "wicked smart.")
Is Angela Ahrendts the speaker who will lift Apple from the rhetorical hole Steve Jobs dug?
FORTUNE -- Tim Cook, as he would be first to admit, was not born with Steve Jobs' gift for gab.
But it doesn't help that he -- and the rest of Apple's (AAPL) senior staff -- still talk as if there were no adjectives in the English language but the handful that Jobs used again and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 27, 2013 10:31 AM ET
Apple's new retail chief on the blurring of the physical world and social media.
FORTUNE -- "I grew up in a physical world, and I speak English. The next generation is growing up in a digital world, and they speak social."
So begins Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts in this four-minute YouTube video promoting her store's partnership with Salesforce (CRM). It was shot a year before Tim Cook tapped her to be Apple's (AAPL) new MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 22, 2013 7:18 AM ET
The new -- and only -- woman in Apple's top ranks is the talk of the tech world.
FORTUNE -- Tim Cook's pick to head his retail operations may be famous in the fashion business, but it took Apple (AAPL) watchers -- most of whom have never set foot in a Burberry outlet -- much of Tuesday to figure out who Angela Ahrendts is.
Then the pundits weighed in.
Henry Blodget, Business Insider: "One question that arose MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 16, 2013 10:23 AM ET
Mass-market tastes are changing at a rapid clip.
By Brian Dumaine, senior editor-at-large
FORTUNE -- At today's town hall meeting at Fortune's Global Forum in Chengdu, China, leaders of some of the world's largest corporations engaged in a lively debate over the shape of China's changing culture. Mass-market tastes -- especially among China's younger generation -- are changing fast as urbanization, technology, and travel remake consumer experiences and demands. The panelists discussed what MOREJun 6, 2013 6:50 AM ET
Ahrendts is making Burberry (yes, Burberry) into an innovation machine.
By Beth Kowitt, writer
FORTUNE -- Last May, Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts flew to California from her London headquarters to introduce herself to an executive she thought could be critical to the future of her business: Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. When the two met at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, they stood in the hall batting around ideas for 15 MOREJun 5, 2012 5:00 AM ET
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