Apple’s senior vice president of retail Angela Ahrendts is leaving the business after five years.

Ahrendts, who joined the technology giant in 2014 and has been rumoured to be chief executive Tim Cook’s potential successor, will step down from her role in April to focus on “new personal and professional pursuits”.

She will be succeeded by the retailer’s current vice president of human resources Deirdre O’Brien. O’Brien, who has been with Apple for 30 years, will expand her role to become senior vice president of retail and people.

Ahrendts, who was chief executive of Burberry prior to joining Apple, spearheaded the transformation of Apple’s flagships to ‘town square’ layouts.

She was also tasked with the operations of Apple’s 506-strong store estate and ecommerce platforms in 35 territories.

Cook said: “I want to thank Angela for inspiring and energising our teams over the past five years.

“She has been a positive, transformative force, both for Apple’s stores and the communities they serve. We all wish her the very best as she begins a new chapter.”

Ahrendts said: “The last five years have been the most stimulating, challenging and fulfilling of my career. Through the teams’ collective efforts, Retail has never been stronger or better positioned to make an even greater contribution for Apple.

“I feel there is no better time to pass the baton to Deirdre, one of Apple’s strongest executives. I look forward to watching how this amazing team, under her leadership, will continue to change the world one person and one community at a time.”