May 30, 2019 | By Louise Squire
Burberry president and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey will leave UK luxury fashion house Burberry at the end of 2018. We don’t know what his next move will be yet.
The shock news will bring at end to Bailey’s almost-17 years at the house and comes at “the right time for him to pursue new creative projects,” the announcement from Burberry said Tuesday morning.
With such a long exit period, there’s not much point in speculating his likely next destination. But social media will be abuzz surrounding the reason for that decision. For now, he will remain president and chief creative officer until the end of next March, when he will step down from the board.
We’re told he will then provide his full support to Marco Gobbetti, who replaced Bailey as chief executive in July, and the team on the transition until his eventual departure in around 14 months’ time.
Since joining in 2001, Bailey has been a driving force behind Burberry’s transformation, the house said. In that time, Burberry has grown from “a small licensed outerwear business” to become one of the world’s largest and “most admired global luxury brands”, it noted.
At the design helm during its biggest expansion phase, he became joint CEO and chief creative officer in May 2014. In this role, he continued to “push boundaries and led the ongoing elevation of the brand”.
He has also built a highly talented and experienced creative team, capable of the constant re-invention that Burberry is known for, added the house.
Gobbetti commented: “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.”
Bailey said: “It has been the great privilege of my working life to be at Burberry, working alongside and learning from such an extraordinary group of people over the last 17 years. 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.
“I do truly believe, however, that Burberry’s best days are still ahead of her and that the company will go from strength to strength with the strategy we have developed and the exceptional talent we have in place led by Marco.”
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