Such a Good Read: Om Malik on Apple's hiring of Ahrendts
- October 24, 2013
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Om Malik wrote this piece on Apple and the hiring of Ahrendts. The point of the piece is to explain why Angela Ahrendts might be the next CEO of Apple.
But what I really like about it is his approach to that thesis. First, the facts – that Apple has hired Ahrendts. Then, introduce Ahrendts to readers who may not be familiar with her background. He also discusses her strengths vis-a-vis Apple, and then her challenges…
But the crux of the analysis is the idea that if Ahrendts changes Apple more than Apple changes her, then she is the likely successor:
First, she is not Ron Johnson. And she is definitely not John Browett. She is Angela Ahrendts, and she is a rock star.
She hobnobs with rock stars, hangs out with models and graces the covers of magazines. She is the personification of a media celebrity CEO. She is a woman who seems to have it all. She is used to being the center of attention and being able to access reporters and give interviews. She is not the nameless, faceless functionary that Apple loves and makes sure that they remain anonymous.
The time she will spend at Apple will tell a lot about the company. The post-Steve Jobs Apple, despite Tim Cook’s assurances, still works like Apple in Steve Jobs’ day: secretive, controlling and making sure that the message of the company is airbrushed. How will she deal with playing second fiddle to working for Cook and Jony Ive, the only two people from Apple who are deemed to be stars representing Apple?
Can Apple change its culture to adapt to Ahrendts or will Ahrendts change to become Apple’s functionary? That is the real question. If Apple changes, then you are looking at the next Apple chief executive, one who can take the company in a different direction.
And that’s why she is an inspired choice: one that could help change Apple itself.
It isn’t just a weighing of the possibilities – it is the analysis of what those possible outcomes mean for the future of Apple. I have to agree, it is an inspired choice. Let’s hope it is also a good one.