Apple hires former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, wait what?

Apple hires former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, wait what?

Summary: The rumors are true: Apple has hired former YSL CEO Paul Deneve to work directly for CEO Tim Cook. But what is he going to be working on? Think fashion.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Apple
17
Apple hires former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve, wait what? Jason O'Grady
(Image: YSL)

Bloomberg's Adam Satariano has reported (via 9to5Mac) that Apple has hired former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve (@PaulDeneve) as vice president, reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple would only confirm that Deneve will work on "special projects" and not as head of retail, as was speculated after John Browett's spectacular flame-out in that role last year.

In addition to being CEO of global fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent (which was recently rebranded as Saint Laurent Paris), Deneve's LinkedIn profile shows that he was previously president of fashion brands Lanvin and Nina Vicci. So what "special project" is he working on at Apple?

My money's on the iWatch.

YSL designed plenty of watches in its day, but maybe Tim Cook's hoping that there's a certain je ne sais quoi that Deneve could bring to something as pedestrian as a watch. We don't want it to turn out like Pebble, do we?

What's your take on the Deneve hire?

Topic: Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

17 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Chameleon Decorator Watches and Phones

    Design team management and marketing watches with up to three screens with phone included. Look for slightly bigger watch faces.
    Dick Tracy rules too.
    skione
  • YSL Nerdware

    Nerdwear? I doubt even Armani could make wearable tech look good.
    Seditionist
    • Will have to see

      It certainly is an interesting gamble, trying to make fashionable wearable tech. It is certainly obvious that Google tried with glass, and even came close. So let's see what they come up with!
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • YSL doe's just do wearable, YSL redefines what sells as looking goodecome .

      Look for Apple wearables to become the iconic "Little Black Dress" of the computing environment.

      Its a niche market, but that's not what matters. Its OWNING that niche that matters.
      MSBPodcast
  • Doubt he was hired to design anything

    This guy's background is not design. And if Apple is getting into the smartwatch/wearable tech market no doubt they've been working on prototypes for quite a while. My guess is he will be involved in branding and marking, not design.
    Rogifan
  • Doubt he was hired to design anything

    This guy's background is not design. And if Apple is getting into the smartwatch/wearable tech market no doubt they've been working on prototypes for quite a while. My guess is he will be involved in branding and marking, not design.
    Rogifan
    • His longest professional gig was at Apple Europe

      He worked at Apple Europe in Sales and Mktg for seven years before he worked in the fashion industry. He's consulted all over Silicon Valley. He's coming back to an industry he knows very well.
      morpheusLA
  • JC Penney in reverse..?

    Lets see....JC Penney hires a former Apple Exec who knows nothing about retail clothing to turn its stores around (we know how that turned out). Now Apple hires a YSL Exec who apparently knows nothing about tech gadgets. This will be interesting.........
    brewakeg
    • It' Not Penny's in Reverse

      Actually Ron Johnson came to Apple for a failing TARGET where he did in fact turn that company around into the huge success it is today.
      mrmarkdemaio
  • Who really cares?

    I have two wrist watches, have no desire to buy an Apple or Google version, they would have to be cheap--less than $100, and do many things to get much sold, and keep perfect time at that. The watch I wear primarily is kept up to date by linking to WWV daily. The other is a calculator watch. I do not try to tell time by my phone, it is primarily a phone. To haul it out, wake it up, and then try to read the time is much more a nuisance than just looking at my wrist and saying oh it is 9:54! (analog dial to boot) In fact it is not as accurate as my watch is! It still said 9:53, so why would I depend on it?
    No matter where Ron Johnson came from, he did not wow the customer at JCP. That is what got him kicked to the curb.
    I have a hard enough time using the keyboard on my present phone much less having a smaller one on a watch!
    dhays
    • To each there own ...

      ... I have several watches and don't wear any of them, because I prefer to just hit the home button on my iPhone. Generally, I'm doing that while I'm in a meeting or somewhere where I've already got my phone out and either in my hand, or on the desk/table in front of me, so it's hardly any inconvenience. Literally might take a second or two longer than looking at my wrist.

      That said, I have little interest in an iWatch. I don't care to wear watches.

      Sooo ... would an iWatch sell? Possibly. But this is the worst kept secret in Apple history (a trend since Steve Jobs passed away), and given the snail's pace at which Apple is bringing it to market, it'll have tons of competition when it does arrive, making it even harder to have it be successful. But it's Apple. A certain (high) number of people will buy them just because. And it'll be a fashion statement and status symbol ... at least for a while.

      Now, if Apple could make me a more useful pair of regular glasses -- since I already have to wear them -- that'd be something I'd be interested in.
      imalugnut
    • Cheap watch phone

      I got a cheap watch phone for NZ$95 (US$74.05 approx) so you can get one for under that price. It plays MP3 audio as well as MP4 videos on a 1.5" touch screen.
      It came with a stylus to type on the tiny keyboard when I am writing a SMS message.
      I could hook it up to send and receive email, but that is expensive here. it also has a calculator and calendar function.
      Android powered watches have also been on the market for some time but they are much more expensive at around NZ$360 (US$280.62 approx) for a 2" screen model that comes with a Bluetooth headset.
      NZJester
  • You mean he worked for Nina Ricci, right?

    Not "Vicci."
    goyta
  • I still don't see the appeal

    The trend, even with iphones, has been for the screen to get bigger. Bigger phones sell in droves, much smaller one's like the sony's don't. We use phones as multi-function gadgets utilising the quality and size of screen. I can't see smartwatches replacing phones and I doubt there's a big market for companion devices in the shape of watch, otherwise why don't we hear how mass-market smartwatches are. This is not new tech unless they are going to add something mind-bendingly new into the mix. Increased cool-factor will not make it mass-market.
    Little Old Man
  • $$$$$$$$$$

    Put the Hoity in the Toity.
    trm1945
  • Or maybe....

    The guy was hired to design new polo shirts for the staff at Apple? Maybe new working clothes for the cafeteria and cleaning people. Or maybe new outfits for the Apple Store people.
    Gisabun
  • looking for this watch

    Any body has the link where I can buy this watch online? Thanks
    apon ahsan