Apple hires Yves Saint Laurent CEO to head special projects

Smart watches, content for a TV and a new line of more luxurious products could be on Paul Deneve's plate

Apple has hired Paul Deneve, until Tuesday the CEO of French luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent, to work as its vice president for special projects, igniting fresh speculation about possible new product launches including a TV or wearable computing devices such as a smart watch.

"We're thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple. He'll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook," said Apple spokesman Alan Hely via email.

Unsurprisingly, the company doesn't want to elaborate on what kind of special projects Deneve, who has worked at Apple in the past, will be working on. But the hire has resulted in analysts speculating, and wearable computing is on top of the list, according to CCS Insight's Ben Wood and IDC's Francisco Jeronimo.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the field of wearable computing is "ripe for exploration" and, said CCS Insight's Wood, "Wearable computing means fashion."

Jeronimo agreed: hiring someone with Deneve's background makes sense if Apple wants to enter the burgeoning sector, he said.

"This is an area that will explode in the next couple of years," Jeronimo said.

He expects to see new wearable devices that combine integration with smartphones to allow users to view messages and answer phone calls with the functionality offered by bands like Nike's Fuelband, which tracks each step taken and estimates calorie burned.

"Many people today just look at their phone to see if they have a new message, and that behavior could be replaced by one of these devices," Jeronimo said.

The smartphone market in many developed parts of the world is saturated, so device makers such as Apple have to come up with new products to ensure growth. Apple is good at putting out products that consumers don't know what to do with when they first see them, but still want to buy, according to Jeronimo.

But there are other potential "special projects" that Deneve could get involved with, including shoring up content deals for the long-rumored Apple smart TV set, according to Jeronimo. Some others that crossed Wood's mind when hearing the news were working on Apple's brand and a range of more luxurious products.

"I think Apple may be a little concerned that as the iPhone becomes more ubiquitous and everyone you know has one it becomes more difficult to retain that premium luster," Wood said.

If Apple can't remain a company whose products users aren't willing to pay more for, it risks getting involved in a race to the bottom, and it wants to avoid that, according to Wood. Apple could also be pondering a range of more luxurious products in the same vein as Nokia's Vertu phones. A number of third party vendors are already offering that, Wood said.

This is Deneve's second stint at Apple: Between 1990 and 1997 he worked as a sales manager and a marketing manager for Apple Europe.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

The real asset of small data – getting granular unearths opportunities

When most marketers use the word ‘data’, what springs to mind are large sets of numbers, Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based IT systems and complicated algorithms. Big data speak is the mot du jour. There is even a big data Week in London called the Festival of Data.

Pip Stocks

CEO and founder, BrandHook

Digital Transformation challenges for CMOs

New problems are rarely fixed by applying old thinking. In the last decade, a combination of circumstances has evolved that requires new thinking from marketers. This new thinking takes advantage of the digital environment and transforms business as we know it.

Mark Cameron

CEO, Working Three

Why innovation requires less certainty and more ambiguity

According to the Knowledge Doubling Theory, the sum total of human knowledge doubles every 12-13 months. With the full evolution of the Internet of Things, it will eventually double every 12 hours. Faced with such a sea of shifting data and knowledge, how can we make progress if we try to nail everything down to a certainty?

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Hi Kyle -- great piece. I couldn't agree with you more when you say that we as marketers are in the business of choice. I actually wrot...

Matthew Willcox

Tapping behavioural science for consumer influence

Read more

Great points. When it comes to optimizing the app experience, making sure you collect rich usage data is important, but making sure you c...

Dustin Amrhein

Why app engagement must be personalised - Mobile strategy - CMO Australia

Read more

You can also use automation to help keep the contact database nice and tidy. For example, programs that check and fix database values (eg...

automatico

3 brands using marketing automation for more than just email

Read more

Digital marketing landscape is changing rapidly and you need someone who has hands on experience, keeps up with emerging trends and strik...

A.M. International

Predictions: 16 digital marketing trends for 2016

Read more

Its time consumers see their points as an financial asset which has value, and begin to manage them like money (with a plan and a desired...

Steve@iFLYflat

Virgin to offer customer loyalty program points as petrol currency

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in