Tim Cook brings in Burberry boss to restore Apple's shine

Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:10am EDT
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* Apple hires Burberry CEO Ahrendts for top retail job

* Ahrendts to expand Apple retail and online stores

* Apple CEO Cook seeks Burberry magic for Jobs's brand

* Ahrendts took Burberry digital, expanded into China

By Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton

LONDON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts rebuilt the brand after over-exposure of its trademark pattern alienated wealthy clientele. Her approach: to embrace digital innovation, build a strong online business and tap Chinese and Latin American markets.

Now Apple Inc is hoping she can do the same at the world's most valuable technology company.

In poaching Ahrendts to direct strategy, expansion and operation of its retail and online stores, Apple CEO Tim Cook has set her the task of bolstering global iPad and iPhone sales and returning some lustre to the Steve Jobs-created brand which has not launched a major new device in almost four years.

Apple's profit fell 22 percent in the June quarter as gross margins slid below 37 percent from 42 percent a year earlier and its shares, down more than 30 percent since September 2012, are being pummelled by fears of slowing growth, and competition from Samsung Electronics.   Continued...