Angela Ahrendts, who took over as Apple's head of retail in 2014, parted ways with Apple in April. Now she's the newest board member at the home-sharing giant, which is believed to be eyeing an IPO as soon as later this year.
At Apple, Ahrendts is credited with steering an expansion and evolution of Apple's retail empire, which encompassed, as of last year, 506 Apple stores across 22 countries, as well as 70,000 employees. When Ahrendts started, Apple had 424 stores and just 13 in China, with the latter number now more than tripling to 41. Prior to Apple, Ahrendts was the CEO of high end fashion company Burberry (BURBY) from 2006 to 2014.
Airbnb announced on Thursday that Ahrendts will become the third independent, non-affiliated member of Airbnb's board, joining former American Express (AXP) - Get American Express Company Report CEO Ken Chenault and former Pixar executive Ann Mather. Airbnb's board also includes founder and CEO Brian Chesky, co-founders Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia, and investors Jeff Jordan and Alfred Lin.
"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," Chesky said in a press release announcing the addition.
Airbnb is among the largest and most valuable private tech firms in the world, with a valuation of around $35 billion, and has been pulling back the curtain on its numbers ahead of its expected IPO.
In January, the company announced that it had been profitable on an adjusted basis for the past two years and earns roughly $1 billion in quarterly revenue. Chesky told Recode last year that the company would be "ready to go public" by late June 2019, but didn't know if they would.
The company may also be banking that it can turn its dominance in the home-sharing niche into a public offering on its own terms. Late last year, reports suggested that Airbnb was considering a direct listing rather than a traditional IPO, a move that bypasses the fees and "road show" that accompanies a typical public offering. Spotify opted to use a direct listing when it debuted last year, and workplace software company Slack Technologies plans to do the same for its upcoming IPO.
As more high-profile tech unicorns make their way to the public markets, not all have had a friendly reception thus far: Lyft (LYFT) - Get Lyft Inc Class A Report shares are down 34% since the company's March 29 IPO, while Uber (UBER) - Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report was trading at $43.17 as of Thursday early afternoon, below its IPO price of $45. On the other hand, shares of several newly public firms focused on enterprise software such as Zoom, PagerDuty and have soared.