Usually, the executive leadership of tech giants lead from the front, issuing press releases under their names and appearing at product launches and store openings. However, the absence of one highly touted exec from recent Apple events has experts wondering what could be going on behind Cupertino’s closed doors.
Ahrendts left high-end fashion retailer Burberry for Apple in 2013, and her experience in the fashion world led some to believe she would play a large role in Apple’s recently announced partnerships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s fashion gala and modeling agencies WME and IMG’s launch of a fashion-centric channel on Apple TV. However, The NYT reported that Ahrendts has largely been replaced by Jonathan Ive, chief design officer at Apple, at many of the events surrounding these partnerships.
Regardless of whether or not Ahrendts has been visible, she’s made a mark that is hard to ignore in her short time at Apple. Ahrendts has aggressively pushed expansion into the Chinese market — and she will grow the iPhone purveyor’s store presence on the mainland to 40 by the end of 2016. Five stores have already opened – and 10 will be open by the end of the summer of 2015.
Many also know her for her sky-high salary, which in 2014 made her the highest paid executive among women by nearly $31 million. Fortune reported that her income topped at $73.4 million in 2014.
And while the world has already heard so much about Ahrendts, it’s difficult not to wonder why Apple is holding Ahrendts back from public view — and what, if anything, they are saving her appearances for.