Known to have taken a unique route into tech from fashion, Angela Ahrendts will now be joining the board of the accommodation rental business Airbnb, the company stated in a press release. The former Burberry CEO led Apple’s retail and was the only senior female executive in Apple, before her departure was announced earlier this year.
Airbnb stated that her contribution around “building community among customers” would be an asset to the board. As Airbnb’s third independent, non-affiliated board member, she has joined Ex-American Express CEO Ken Chenault and former Pixar CFO Ann Mather (the only other woman in Airbnb’s Board).
Talking about the co-founders of Airbnb, she said: “I have known Brian, Joe and Nate for years, and have a deep admiration and respect for their vision, purpose and the positive impact they want Airbnb to make in communities all around the world.”
Many popular Apple-centric Twitter feeds had held Angela responsible for making the sales and service process slow, she had her own unique way of doing the job.
A non-techy, as she called herself the first time she met CEO Tim Cook, Angela focused on extending Steve Job’s vision of educating consumers through retail, which ultimately impacts on the company’s brand rather than plain numbers. For instance, “Today at Apple” re-imagined retail by offering something which was beyond a learning session, and unleashed for people through creativity and productivity in new and inspiring ways.
Back in 2010, she was described her as “transforming [the then] 154-year-old Burberry into a technologically savvy international powerhouse” by Wall Street Journal Writer Nancy Hass. Burberry’s shares three times, over to approximately $9bn when Angela left the company to join Apple.
And as the news of Angela leaving Apple broke out, many rumors floated that she would be taking a more considerable role in Ralph Laurel; where she joined as a non-executive director last year. She later hinted in an interview with the Vogue that she wasn’t exactly eyeing a role in fashion world.
It would now, therefore be interesting to see how Angela would be able to drive change in hospitality sector with her vibrant past record in luxury and technology. The board announcement from Airbnb comes at a significant time as the company is preparing itself to go public and is filling positions in its board by bringing diversity to its board.