Apple hires Yves Saint Laurent CEO to head special projects

Smart watches, content for a TV and a new line of more luxurious products could be on Paul Deneve's plate

Apple has hired Paul Deneve, until Tuesday the CEO of French luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent, to work as its vice president for special projects, igniting fresh speculation about possible new product launches including a TV or wearable computing devices such as a smart watch.

"We're thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple. He'll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook," said Apple spokesman Alan Hely via email.

Unsurprisingly, the company doesn't want to elaborate on what kind of special projects Deneve, who has worked at Apple in the past, will be working on. But the hire has resulted in analysts speculating, and wearable computing is on top of the list, according to CCS Insight's Ben Wood and IDC's Francisco Jeronimo.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the field of wearable computing is "ripe for exploration" and, said CCS Insight's Wood, "Wearable computing means fashion."

Jeronimo agreed: hiring someone with Deneve's background makes sense if Apple wants to enter the burgeoning sector, he said.

"This is an area that will explode in the next couple of years," Jeronimo said.

He expects to see new wearable devices that combine integration with smartphones to allow users to view messages and answer phone calls with the functionality offered by bands like Nike's Fuelband, which tracks each step taken and estimates calorie burned.

"Many people today just look at their phone to see if they have a new message, and that behavior could be replaced by one of these devices," Jeronimo said.

The smartphone market in many developed parts of the world is saturated, so device makers such as Apple have to come up with new products to ensure growth. Apple is good at putting out products that consumers don't know what to do with when they first see them, but still want to buy, according to Jeronimo.

But there are other potential "special projects" that Deneve could get involved with, including shoring up content deals for the long-rumored Apple smart TV set, according to Jeronimo. Some others that crossed Wood's mind when hearing the news were working on Apple's brand and a range of more luxurious products.

"I think Apple may be a little concerned that as the iPhone becomes more ubiquitous and everyone you know has one it becomes more difficult to retain that premium luster," Wood said.

If Apple can't remain a company whose products users aren't willing to pay more for, it risks getting involved in a race to the bottom, and it wants to avoid that, according to Wood. Apple could also be pondering a range of more luxurious products in the same vein as Nokia's Vertu phones. A number of third party vendors are already offering that, Wood said.

This is Deneve's second stint at Apple: Between 1990 and 1997 he worked as a sales manager and a marketing manager for Apple Europe.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileAppleconsumer electronicsaccessoriesMobile OSesTVs

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?