Burberry chief executive officer and Ball State alumna Angela Ahrendts, '81, presented "Burberry + World: A Conversation with Angela Ahrendts" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, in Sursa Performance Hall.
Ahrendts returned to campus to discuss innovation and emerging media in international business. She discussed how digital media is enabling Burberry to connect with more people around the world, in more compelling ways than ever before.
Ahrendts' encore at Ball State followed her much acclaimed spring 2010 Commencement address, which was quickly followed by a lengthy profile in The Wall Street Journal and a tete-a-tete with Charlie Rose on PBS.
Under her leadership, the iconic London luxury clothier—one of the 100 largest companies in the United Kingdom—has experienced significant increases in revenues and profits and expansion into new markets. Ahrendts was included on the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women list in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010 and was among Fortune magazine's International Power 50 in 2007 and 2008. In 2010, she was named European Business Leader of the Future at the CNBC European Business Leaders Awards.
Much of the innovation taking place at Burberry stems from the company's appreciation of emerging media, as Ahrendts illustrated when she engaged with a group of Ball State seniors via a live web chat two weeks ahead of spring graduation exercise in 2010. The iconic fashion brand last year broke new ground by beaming its runway show from London Fashion Week live and in 3-D to multiple locations around the globe. Burberry also is the first luxury brand to attract more than 1 million fans on Facebook.