Angela AhrendtsAngela Ahrendts, the head of Apple’s retail operationsIlya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Fast Company

  • Angela Ahrendts currently serves as Apple’s head of retail.
  • She didn’t take a typical path into the tech world — her last role was as CEO of Burberry.
  • But Ahrendts is now the highest-paid executive at Apple, earning almost double what CEO Tim Cook makes.
  • Here’s how she rose from a small town in Indiana to an executive position at Apple.

Angela Ahrendts may not have taken a typical path into the tech world, but she’s quickly become one of the most important and highest-paid executives at Apple

Ahrendts joined Apple in 2014 as its head of retail, filling a position that had been vacant for more than a year. At the time, the tech world was surprised. Ahrendts didn’t have a background in tech and previously had been her own boss; she joined Apple from British fashion house Burberry, where she had served as CEO for eight years.

But Apple obviously appreciates her. Four years after she joined, Ahrendts gets almost double the compensation of Apple CEO Tim Cook. She’s also the only female senior executive at the iPhone maker.

Here’s how Ahrendts rose from her origins in a small town outside Indianapolis to becoming an executive at the most valuable company in the world.