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The Apple board member who helped design its retail stores is retiring

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Drexler with Martha Stewart last year.
Drexler with Martha Stewart last year.
Fernando Leon/Getty Images

J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, who's been on Apple's board since 1999, plans to retire in March. Drexler played an incredibly important part in helping Apple create the design of its first retail stores, which remain largely unchanged since their introduction. Apple disclosed Drexler's departure in its note about its annual shareholders meeting on March 10th, saying it didn't have a replacement planned yet.

At 70 years old, Drexler is the oldest member of Apple's eight-person board, followed by Al Gore and Ron Sugar who are both 66. Up until Bill Campbell's departure last year, he'd also been the longest-serving member of the company's board.

It was Drexler's idea to build a fake Apple store

"We’re grateful for Mickey’s 15 years of service on our board, during which time the company’s revenues have increased more than thirtyfold," Apple said in a statement. "Among his many contributions, Mickey was a key advisor on the launch of Apple’s retail stores at a time when few believed Apple would succeed and no one could have imagined the successes to come. We thank him for all of his contributions."

Drexler joined Apple right as the company was designing the beginnings of what would become a retail empire, encouraging Steve Jobs and former retail chief Ron Johnson to create a mockup of its store design in a nearby warehouse. During his time serving at Apple, Drexler was fired from Gap and later became the chief executive at clothing store J.Crew. In 2013 he also became a board member of eyewear maker Warby Parker.