Bloomberg reports that Apple has hired Paul Deneve, the former CEO of French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. Deneve had left his post as the CEO of the French fashion house to “pursue a career in the technology industry.”
We initially thought that Apple had hired him to fill the Senior Vice President of Retail position, which has been vacant since October when former Dixon’s exec John Browett was booted out.
Bloomberg however reports that Deneve won’t be the SVP of Retail, instead he will be working on “special projects” and will report directly to Tim Cook. This has sparked off speculations that Cook has hired Deneve to figure out how to sell wearable devices. Interestingly, Deneve worked in sales and marketing for Apple Europe for seven years back in the 90’s.
Erica Ogg of GigaOM writes:
Deneve’s sales and marketing background and understanding of the luxury goods industry would seem to indicate he’ll be doing something with positioning Apple’s products and brand. But it could also be related to a totally new product category Apple is expected to enter but that it has no experience with: wearable devices. [..]
[..] Apple knows a thing or two about selling smartphones, tablets and computers, but a smartwatch? That’s more akin to a luxury fashion accessory than a consumer electronics device. At Courreges, Deneve was charged with selling really expensive sunglasses — perhaps Cook wants him to replicate that success with Apple watches.
It has been widely rumored that Apple will launch a smartwatch, unofficially dubbed iWatch later this year. Tim Cook recently said wearable tech was an area of ‘profound’ interest for the company.
Apple has also been busy filing trademark for the “iWatch” name in several countries, which indicates that it is gearing up to launch a smartwatch.