Ahrendts will lead Apple’s retail effort with oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of both Apple retail and online stores. She will report directly to CEO Tim Cook and will replace John Browett, who was relieved from this position in October 2012 after a short ten-month tenure. He was reportedly asked to leave following a series of controversial decisions to cut store employees in order to squeeze additional profits from the retail segment.
Ahrendts is joining Apple at an exciting time. The company’s retail operations remain strong with growth expected in international markets. Apple also is rumored to be developing a mobile payments system that leverages the now 800 million iTunes accounts in its ecosystem.
Details on Apple’s mobile payment initiative is not known, but the company is rumored to be in talks with payment industry executives to fulfill leadership positions on a mobile payments. Former online retail head Jennifer Bailey allegedly was moved from her position so she could begin to organize Apple’s efforts in this area.