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Airbnb adds former Apple exec Angela Ahrendts to its board

Airbnb adds former Apple exec Angela Ahrendts to its board
Angela Ahrendts [Photo: Vincenzo Lombardo/Getty Images]

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s former head of retail, is joining Airbnb’s board of directors. She is the second woman to join the board of the home-sharing company.

Ahrendts left Apple in April but shared few details about her departure. She has a deep background in the fashion industry. Before Apple, she was the CEO of Burberry and has worked for other major brands including Henry Bendel, Liz Claiborne, and Donna Karan International. At Apple, she spearheaded preordering and online sales for new products and gave Apple’s stores a more community feel.

Airbnb has cited Ahrendts’ “profound creativity” and a deep expertise on service as a reason for bringing her on.

The home-sharing company is increasingly pushing into services itself. It now inspects some of the homes listed on its site and offers boutique hotel rooms to make customers feel more confident that they’ll have a good experience. It’s also built up a crop of activities called Experiences, some of which have been built especially for its platform. As it expands into more areas of travel, including perhaps flights and cars, the company will no doubt be looking for advice on how to think about the experience of these offerings.

Ahrendts is the third independent member on Airbnb’s board. She joins Ann Mather, who previously served as Pixar’s CFO and chaired the audit committees for both Alphabet and Netflix, as well as Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has previously said he’s looking for board members who can help usher in Airbnb’s 21st-century vision, and that seems to be part of the impetus for hiring Ahrendts. He said via a statement, “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.”

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