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Salesforce (CRM) CEO: Ahrendts Next Apple (AAPL) Chief

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet's Rocco Pendola may have called it two weeks ago, but a Silicon Valley heavyweight has thrown his support behind speculation on the next Apple (AAPL - Get Report) CEO, Angela Ahrendts.

Marc Benioff, co-founder of leading cloud computing company Salesforce (CRM - Get Report), wrote on Twitter that Ahrendts may well be the next Apple CEO.

Current Apple chief executive Cook announced in mid-October the tech giant had hired Ahrendts to head its retail stores and online stores, in a newly created role. In her current position as chief executive of Burberry, Ahrendts has helped create one of the world's most successful luxury brands. Since 2006, shares of the London-based fashion house have tripled.

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Ahrednts hasn't been shy to use technology to elevate the retail experience. In September, Burberry released a 15-minute fashion show video shot entirely on Apple's iPhone 5s as a promotion for each of their new lines.

In 2012, Salesforce was key in Burberry's push to build a social brand. Burberry Chat, powered by Salesforce, facilitated dialogue between management and employees, and sales and customers. "We've opened up what we call the store of the future," said Ahrendts in a video promoting the service. "The next generation is growing up in a digital world, and they speak social."

This intuitive customer-first approach to retail is driving much of the excitement behind the hire. Apple's retail stores, the first of which opened in 2001, are widely considered best-in-class for gadget sales and support.

"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," said Cook in a press release.

In pre-market trading, Apple shares nudged 0.35% higher to $531.75.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Apple Inc as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate Apple Inc (AAPL) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

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