Angela Ahrendts, former retail boss at Apple Inc. and ex-chief of Burberry, has identified her latest destination: Airbnb.
The online home rental company announced Thursday that it’s adding Ahrendts to its board, alongside other independent, non-affiliated members Ken Chenault and Ann Mather.
Ahrendts’ retail acumen, creativity and expertise in building communities piqued the company’s interest. In her post as head of Apple’s global retail business, overseeing an operation spanning 500 stores across 25 countries, Ahrendts was instrumental in instituting changes, such as “Today at Apple” programming. The goal was to transform the tech company’s retail spaces into communal gathering places.
“Angela has a reputation for pushing brands to dream big, and she told me that’s exactly what she hopes to bring to Airbnb’s board,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb cofounder, chief executive officer and head of community.
“She has led global brands through transformation, completely redefined the retail experience, and done it all while putting customers and communities first,” he added. “I’m so excited for her to join our board and know her innovative thinking will make us a better company.”
Regarding her new post, Ahrendts said, “I am elated by the opportunity to join Airbnb’s board of directors at this important phase on the incredible journey of the company and its community of hosts and guests. I have known [the founders] Brian [Chesky], Joe [Gebbia] and Nate [Blecharczyk] 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.”
After five years, Ahrendts’ Apple tenure came to an end in April, and the departure left both the fashion and technology sectors searching for signs of where she’d turn up next. Her appearance at a Ralph Lauren event in February prompted speculation that she might make a return to fashion. At the time, she told WWD that, after leaving the tech giant, she might take some downtime and travel.
The sentiment was likely literal at the time — even if in hindsight, it wound up being a major clue to her ultimate destination.