Burberry president and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey is to leave the business next year, it has been confirmed this morning.
Bailey, who has been with the brand for 17 years, will stand down from its board in March 2018 and work with CEO Marco Gobbetti and team on a transition period until December 2018.
In a statement the business said that Bailey had concluded it was the right time to move on to pursue other opportunities. “Burberry encapsulates so much of what is great about Britain. As an organisation, it is creative, innovative and outward looking. It celebrates diversity and challenges received wisdoms. It is over 160 years old, but it has a young spirit. It is part of the establishment, but it is always changing, and always learning. It has been a truly inspiring place to work and the decision to leave was not an easy one,” Bailey said.
Bailey joined the business in 2001 and was instrumental in its transformation into a global luxury powerhouse. In 2014 he became chief executive and chief creative officer following the departure of Angela Ahrendts to Apple. However due to shareholder disapproval of the joint role, he ceded the CEO position to Gobbetti in July of this year. Gobbetti was appointed last year from French luxury house Celine. He arrived at Burberry at the start of this year and was heading up its Asian business while waiting to take over the CEO position.
Gobbetti said the search for a successor to Bailey was underway and that he respected his decision to move on. “Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the Company’s success in that period. While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry give me enormous confidence in our future. We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand and I am excited about the opportunity ahead for our teams, our partners and our shareholders,” he said.
Chairman Sir John Peace, who has also announced his intention to leave next year, said Bailey was “a unique talent and an exceptional person”. “He has been a great partner to me and he leaves the Company in the very best of hands, with a strong team and culture in place, led by Marco as CEO. I have total confidence that Marco’s vision and leadership, with the excellent management team in place, will keep Burberry on the forefront creatively, digitally and financially, creating further value for shareholders in the next exciting stage of our evolution,” he added.