Even in the age of 24/7 cable news there are slow news days. Here’s the perfect example and it comes from sensationalist scandal site PageSix. This is exactly what kind of dirt can be dished out by digital dirt machines on a holiday weekend.
Here’s the story. A few years ago Tim Cook hired Angela Ahrendts to run Apple’s retail stores. Ahrendts was the CEO of high flying Burberry from 2006 to 2014. Since then, Apple has opened more retail stores all over the world, and made adjustments in how the stores are managed. But, as is Apple’s modus operandi, Ahrendts has not had a high public profile.
Last year Vanessa Friedman posted a piece on The New York Times wondering what Ahrendts has done since she was hired.
What happened to Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president for retail and online stores, and its biggest fashion hire? Where is she in all of this?
In 2013, when Ms. Ahrendts was poached with great fanfare from Burberry, where she was chief executive, fashion speculated that she might become the friendlier, more stylish, face of Apple; in her former job, she had been known for her communication skills and charm, and Apple is not known for its female executives. The potential upside of having her as both a manager and an ambassador seemed high.
Speculation is a time honored tradition in journalism and even inveterate Apple watchers like me would be hard pressed to see Ahrendts’ influence on Apple but that doesn’t mean diddly squat because Apple’s stores continue to roll in the dough.
Apple’s most recent keynote presentation featured a number of female executives so Tim Cook’s intent to diversify management seems to remain on track.
Except for Ahrendts.
Burberry Chairman Sir John Peace:
She motivates people. She inspires people. And she is the sort of person who wants to see things succeed as a team. It’s a rare quality.
Apparently, Ahrendts is a team player, and Tim Cook prefers team players. Just ask Scott Forstall.
So, back to PageSix and the slow news day. Ian Mohr dredged up some scurrilous dirt on Ahrendts from none other than a customer who talked to an Apple Genius Bar employee recently.
Darling! I was at the Apple Store and a ‘genius’ told me that the new boss from Burberry has changed the color of the T-shirts and made the Apple logo much smaller, and demanded staff no longer wear name tags.
There it is. That’s what Ahrendts has been doing. Working on the staff’s t-shirts.
The new shirts will change color, with red for the holidays and other hues for new product launches in the future. But does that merit an $82.6 million salary?
There is absolutely nothing of value in the entire article. It’s mostly filled with third-party inadmissible hearsay evidence of the scurrilous kind; the type that seeks to dredge up interesting dirt, but even fails on the basic facts.
Apparently the junior high school students posing as writers for PageSix don’t understand the difference between a salary (per hour, per month, or per year) versus a complicated compensation package which includes base salary, bonuses, stock options, and so on, often spread out over multiple years, and usually based upon specific performance criteria. Trust me. Ahrendts is not making $6.8-million a month working on t-shirts.
Apple has nearly 500 retail stores in a couple of dozen countries, many thousands of employees, hundreds of products, and almost $20-billion in annual sales. Stores are a highly profitable, highly public part of Apple’s overall business. And the best analysis PageSix can come up with of what the retail operation’s head has been doing is to mention the t-shirts?
Slow news day, indeed.
Why are not the editors and writers of such publications ashamed of themselves and their work?