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Apple Hires Yves St Laurent CEO for Special Projects

Former Yves St Laurent Group CEO Paul Deneve
Paul Deneve, former chief executive officer of Yves St Laurent Group and vice president of special projects at Apple Inc., is seen in this 2008 photo. Photographer: Nick Harvey/WireImage via Getty Images

Apple Inc. is hiring Paul Deneve, the former chief executive officer of luxury fashion house Yves St Laurent Group, to work on special projects for CEO Tim Cook.

Deneve returns to the iPhone maker after working for Apple in Europe during the 1990s. He was also CEO of Lanvin and Nina Ricci prior to joining Yves St Laurent.

While Apple has traditionally promoted from within, the move shows that Cook is looking outside the company to fill some senior roles. Apple is also hiring Hulu LLC executive Pete Distad to help with negotiations to acquire content for Apple TV, two people familiar with the hire said yesterday.

Deneve isn’t the only fashion executive within the iPhone maker’s corporate ranks. Mickey Drexler, the chairman and CEO of J Crew Group Inc., is on Apple’s board. Cook is a director at Nike Inc.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple,” the Cupertino, California-based company said in a statement yesterday. “He’ll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook.”

The jobs in high fashion give Deneve experience selling products at a premium price. A pair of women’s shoes from Yves St Laurent cost $625 or more, while a leather jacket from its permanent collection is more than $5,000, according to its website.

Vacant Position

Deneve won’t be filling Apple’s vacant job running its retail store operation. The position remains open since the departure last year of John Browett, who was on the job less than a year after replacing the company’s first retail chief, Ron Johnson.

The Apple-focused website AppleInsider reported yesterday that Apple had hired Deneve.

Francesca Bellettini will be Yves St Laurent’s new CEO after Deneve’s departure to “take up a new career opportunity in the high tech industry,” the company said in a statement.

Apple shares rose less than 1 percent to $420.80 at the close in New York. They have dropped 21 percent this year, compared with a 13 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

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