This morning brought the surprising news that Paul Deneve would be leaving his post as CEO of Yves Saint Laurent after a couple of years with the company to join the “high-tech industry,” as Kering put it.
Rumor has it that that “high-tech industry” is Apple. Apple Insider is reporting that the leading tech corporation may have brought back Deneve, who worked in sales and marketing for Apple in the ’90s. The role he’ll take on is not yet known, but there are some theories.
As Apple Insider points out, the launch of Apple’s much buzzed about iWatch could draw on Deneve’s expertise in luxury.
It’s also possible, and likely, that Apple has brought him on to replace the former head of its retail division, John Browett, who was dismissed in October. Interestingly, former JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson was rumored to be gunning for that role–he served as Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail Operations from January 2000 to November 2011.
Since Deneve brought Hedi Slimane on board at YSL, it’s been difficult to discern who was responsible for what in terms of the branding overhaul–but it’s always seemed that their visions were aligned when it came to taking YSL in a younger, cooler, and sleeker direction–which is very much in line with Apple’s branding, if you think about it.
UPDATE: Apple has confirmed that they’ve hired Paul Deneve as a vice president, reports Bloomberg. “We’re thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple,” the the company said in a statement. “He’ll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook.”