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Liberty's La Bourdonnaye steps down as chief executive

Liberty chief executive Geoffroy de La Bourdonnaye has stepped down from the premium London department store, following its sale to private equity firm BlueGem Capital Partners.

Buying director Ed Burstell has been promoted to managing director and Marco Capello, one of the founders of BlueGem and a former managing director of Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity, will become executive chairman.

La Bourdonnaye joined Liberty three years ago and is credited with installing a new team and restoring the store to profit for the first time in a decade. Before joining Liberty, he was president of Christian Lacroix and held executive roles at Walt Disney and PepsiCo.

He will return to Paris to spend more time with his family but will remain a non-executive director of the store.

“We’re indebted to Geoffroy for his vision and turnaround of the Liberty brand,” Capello said.

Burstell, an American, joined Liberty in 2008 from Bergdorf Goodman, where he was senior vice president and general merchandise manager for nonapparel.

He will continue to oversee buying in his new role, but will also take responsibility for press, marketing and the Liberty of London brand. He is expected to work closely with Capello on strategy.

Burstell said: “Liberty will continue to focus on reinvigorating its historical strengths such as scarves, fabrics and homewares whilst being committed to offering customers an expertly edited selection of the world’s best burgeoning and established designers.

“This commitment stretches across all areas of fashion, design and beauty - items you really won’t find anywhere else.”

BlueGem finalised its acquisition of Liberty last Friday. It bought the company from property group Marylebone Warwick Balfour MWB in a cash deal that valued the store at £32 million.

Capello stressed that BlueGem will invest in the Liberty store and appeal to a wider international audience as well as its existing customer base.

Sarah Halsall remains as retail director, alongside finance director Paul Harris, and Kirstie Carey, who is managing director for Liberty Art Fabrics.

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