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Industry welcomes Givenchy ′power duo’ at Burberry

The fashion industry has welcomed the news that Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci will succeed Christopher Bailey as chief creative officer at Burberry, and many are hopeful he and CEO Marco Gobbetti will form a new “power duo”.

Tisci joins Burberry on 12 March and his debut collection for the brand will be revealed at London Fashion Week in September. Bailey leaves at the end of this month.

Tisci was Givenchy’s creative director from 2005 until 2017, while Gobbetti was CEO of Givenchy between 2004 and 2008.

Recruitment experts believe the relationship between the two will be a defining factor in the revival of Burberry.

“It’s a power-team appointment,” said Lucy Harris, partner at executive search firm Clarity. “They had success together before, so there is less risk involved – it makes sense.

“I’m a big supporter of the relationship between the CEO and head of creative. The environment is too tough for all the responsibility to rest on one pair of shoulders. Businesses today need that team approach.”

Ed Fella, general manager at Le Pont Appointments, part of the Di Bridges Partnership, agreed: “It’s a very sensible choice, as Riccardo and Marco have worked together before. Given his experience, it also fits in with Burberry’s plan to elevate the brand into more of the luxury arena. Riccardo’s designs are darker, moodier and more contemporary than Christopher’s. It would have been foolish to try and replicate what Christopher did, so going for someone different is the right thing to do.”

Fella added that Tisci needs to plan for all aspects of the business: “Christopher was very good at having a vision across all areas of the business, rather than just the catwalk collections. Kidswear, for example, was a big focus for him. It will be interesting to see how that works going forward.”

Rogerio Fujimori, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said a successful CEO-creative director partnership is “an essential ingredient of successful turnaround stories in the luxury sector”.

He added that Tisci will be a good fit for the more-elevated position Burberry wants to take: “There is also an inevitable transition phase, changes in creative direction often bring some near-term disruption. Having said that, the most important thing is that Tisci seems to be a good fit to Burberry’s medium-term ambition to position itself firmly in luxury with more fashion content and stronger presence in accessories.”


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