After receiving her DBE, there is another reason keeping Angela Ahrendts, Apple head of retail-to-be in the UK: a roughly $13.5 million share bonus from Burberry, the company she has run for eight years.
According to sources speaking with the Guardian, Ahrendts is free to leave this month, as the six month notice period has passed, but she promised to stay until mid-2014 to foster Burberry takeover by her successor Christopher Bailey, currently chief creative officer. Also, if she remains until June 6, it would allow her to collect two multimillion-pound share bonuses relating to performance over the last few years, the Guardian’s sources note.
“It’s a big sum of money. In some ways it would be good to see the business moving on after six months of handover time. You want to see clarity,” said Rahul Sharma, an analyst at Neev Capital.
But he said investors were also likely to feel reassured by Ahrendt’s presence ahead of some big moves for Burberry and continuing concerns about Bailey’s ability to combine his creative role with that of a chief executive.
Others, however, believe that Ahrendts will leave next month. But the date is yet unknown, or at least it isn’t public, as she is “wrangling” with Burberry and Apple over the aforementioned compensation package.
As Ahrendts prepares her way out, Burberry closed a successful year with 19% growth in sales, and opening new stores worldwide. It is worth noting, however, that the company has closed as many stores as it has opened.
Another reason for Ahrendts to stay at Burberry is to place the finishing touches on the company’s take back of a Japanese license in-house. The move will not officially be unveiled until next month, so we may see Angela Ahrendts around for a while. But when does she plan to take up her role at Apple? No one knows, it seems.
By the way Reuters reported last year that Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey will replace Ahrendts as chief executive in mid-2014 once the latter steps down.