Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to run Apple retail stores

People walk past the Apple store at Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Jan. 25, 2013.

She knows a lot about trench coats, but does Burberry Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts know anything about computers?

We’re about to find out.

The 53-year-old fashion veteran has been appointed senior vice president in charge of Apple’s retail and online stores, the company announced late Monday.

She will start in the spring and report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. 

"I am thrilled that Angela will be joining our team," Cook said in a statement.

"She shares our values and our focus on innovation, and she places the same strong emphasis as we do on the customer experience. She has shown herself to be an extraordinary leader throughout her career and has a proven track record."

That track record includes seven years as the boss of Burberry, which she turned into a globally recognized brand, as well as top positions at Liz Claiborne and Donna Karan.

Ahrendts isn’t the first fashion executive to swap threads for technology. Former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve joined the Cupertino-based company earlier this year to work on mysterious sounding “special projects.”

The important job of running Apple’s retail operations has been vacant for nearly a year. The previous retail boss, John Browett, was sacked after six months of missteps.

Ahrendts will be replaced by Burberry Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey.