Apple (AAPL) is again breaking the mold of traditional IT hiring, reaching into clothing manufacturer titan Levi Strauss for Enrique Atienza to serve in a top director capacity in its U.S. retail operation, according to a 9to5Mac report.
The account, which cites sources knowledgeable with Atienza’s hiring, said that he has left his job as Levi’s Retail Americas and Global Store Operations senior vice president in favor of handling Apple retail in the U.S. west coast, generally regarded as one of the vendor’s key retail slots.
Atienza, who is said to have bested several internal and external candidates for the job, is credited with improving the efficiency and consistency of Levi’s global sales operation, which may have made him particularly appealing to Apple—its retail unit has lacked leadership since last October when the company fired Retail senior vice president John Browett. Recent reports have suggested Apple now is looking exclusively outside the company for candidates to fill its top retail spot.
While the details of Atienza’s contract reportedly have been finalized, he is not slated to begin work at Apple until October, the report said.
The Atienza hiring is reminiscent of another out-of-the-box appointment early in July when Apple nabbed Paul Deneve, the former Yves Saint Laurent chief executive and a past sales and marketing manager in Apple’s European operation, to work on special projects (as in the long-rumored iWatch), reporting directly to chief executive Tim Cook.
According to sources in the 9to5Mac report, Steve Cano, Apple’s worldwide vice president of stores, once rumored to be Ron Johnson’s replacement as head of the vendor’s retail operation, is Atienza’s direct supervisor.
With Apple rumored to be introducing two new iPhones next month and additional products before the holiday season ramps up, it will be important for the vendor to solidify its retail strategy and operations, which is where Atienza comes in.