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Burberry appoints Céline boss as chief executive

Burberry has appointed Céline chairman and CEO Marco Gobbetti as its new chief executive, as Christopher Bailey moves aside to the role of president and chief creative officer.

Marco Gobbetti

Marco Gobbetti

Marco Gobbetti

Gobbetti will join the board in 2017 and will be responsible for all the commercial, operational and financial elements of the business, while Bailey will oversee all elements of the brand and design.

Bailey will transition to his new role when Gobbetti joins next year, and will remain on the board.

The changes to the leadership team come as part of an ongoing business review, which is targeting future growth opportunities in retail, product and digital, amid challenging conditions in the luxury market.

Both Bailey and Gobbetti will report to chairman Sir John Peace, who described Gobbetti as having “an outstanding track record of delivering growth in the luxury industry”.

“Since taking on the combined role of chief executive and chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey has done an excellent job set against a backdrop of challenging market conditions,” said Peace.

“The review that he has led into our ways of working is the blueprint for the next phase of Burberry’s evolution. In order to maximise our ability to successfully implement these plans, Christopher identified the need for a new chief executive for the business who could partner with him as we execute on the new strategies and I am excited to see what they will do together.”

Gobbetti became chairman and chief executive at LMVH-owned French luxury brand Céline in 2008 and was previously chairman and chief executive of Givenchy between 2004 and 2008 and before that chief executive of Moschino.

Julie Brown has also been named as chief operating and chief financial officer, joining the business and the board in early 2017 from her role as chief financial officer at medical technology business Smith and Nephew.

She replaces CFO Carol Fairweather, who has decided to leave the business after ten years to “pursue new opportunities” and will leave the company at the end of the financial year.

Last month Burberry’s chief operating officer John Smith announced he would leave the business this summer to pursue other interests.

In May, Bailey unveiled a change of strategy including £100m of cost savings, to address a slowdown in the Chinese and US markets which led to a 10% drop in underlying profit for the year ended March 31.

Burberry said it will simplify its internal team structure to “reduce duplication” resulting in an unspecified number of job losses.

It is also cutting the number of products in collections by between 15% and 20% and store merchandising will be led by a central team to ensure a clear brand message.


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