Classic rocker Billy Joel once sang that life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. But only a few fortunate souls actually get what’s known as ‘golden hello’. ‘Golden hello’ is a term applied to a handful of corporate big-shots who receive staggering amounts in compensation upon joining new companies.
Imagine football sensation Lionel Messi moving to Manchester United for £200 million. Or Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, leaving to join Elle. Though it is highly-unlikely either of these would ever happen the practice of golden hello’s is one incentive to make it plausible.
News that took both the tech and fashion world by storm was that Apple Inc. had dished out a massive $68 million ‘golden hello’ to lure luxury giant Burberry’s longtime Chief Executive Officer Angela Ahrendts. During her tenure at Burberry, the company’s value rose from £2 billion to over £7 billion. CNN Money reported that in 2012, she was the highest paid CEO in the UK, earning $26.3 million.
Working directly with Apple CEO Tim Cook, her new role with the tech giant has Ahrendts oversee Apple’s entire retail division and if reports are to be believed, she plans to revamp just about everything.
According to Mark Gurman, Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, “From the point in which a customer finds the product he or she wants to purchase, to how they discuss the product with Apple Store employees, to how they pay for the product, Ahrendts would like to redesign the complete experience.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly hailed her as ‘wicked smart’, based on her success at Burberry during her eight years with the British fashion label. Under her guidance, Burberry was one of the highest ranking firms in the FTSE 100. Her ‘mega-bucks’ move to Apple drove the company’s value down by $910 million, at the time of the announcement.
Now, Ahrendts has big plans for Apple. With her new line of attack shifting focus to the Chinese market, the company plans to open and operate 30 retail stores by 2016 (with the current number of stores standing at 10). Her long-term strategy will also see the tech giant explore options for mobile payments. Something Ahrendts feels would complement one’s entire shopping experience.
No doubt a bold approach by a bold, and extremely sharp lady. It is perhaps this audacious attitude that earns Ahrendts the right to be the only female member on Apple’s 10-man leadership team.