Tim Cook ... hired Paul Deneve to work on special projects.

Tim Cook ... hired Paul Deneve to work on special projects. Photo: Reuters

Apple is hiring Paul Deneve, the former chief executive officer of luxury fashion house Yves St Laurent Group, to work on special projects for CEO Tim Cook.

Deneve returns to the iPhone maker after working for Apple in Europe during the 1990s. He was also CEO of Lanvin and Nina Ricci prior to joining Yves St Laurent.

While Apple has traditionally promoted from within, the move shows that Cook is looking outside the company to fill some senior roles. Apple is also hiring Hulu executive Pete Distad to help with negotiations to acquire content for Apple TV, two people familiar with the hire said today.

Deneve isn’t the only fashion executive within the iPhone maker’s corporate ranks. Mickey Drexler, the chairman and CEO of J Crew Group, is on Apple’s board. Cook is a director at Nike. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple,” the Cupertino, California-based company said in a statement. “He’ll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook.”

The jobs in high fashion give Deneve experience selling products at a premium price. A pair of women’s shoes from Yves St Laurent cost $US625 or more, while a leather jacket from its permanent collection is more than $US5000, according to its website.

Deneve won’t be filling Apple’s vacant job running its retail store operation. The position remains open since the departure last year of John Browett, who was on the job less than a year after replacing the company’s first retail chief, Ron Johnson.

The Apple-focused website AppleInsider eported earlier today that Apple hired Deneve.

Francesca Bellettini will be Yves St Laurent’s new CEO after Deneve’s departure to “take up a new career opportunity in the high tech industry,” the company said in a statement today.

Bloomberg