Burberry names Marco Gobbetti as CEO; Christopher Bailey to become president

Burberry’s share price has jumped on the news that Christopher Bailey plans to become president and chief creative officer, relinquishing his position as CEO.

He will be replaced in the CEO role by Marco Gobbetti, who is currently chairman and CEO of French brand Céline, a position he has held since 2008.

The moves are part of an ongoing business review at the luxury brand.

Bailey’s dual role as chief creative officer and CEO has been the subject of consistent scrutiny, both over his level of experience and the pressures placed on him by holding both roles.

Bailey became CEO in October 2013 in addition to his role as chief creative officer. In the new role he will become president and oversee all elements of brand and design, working in partnership with Gobbetti, who will join the company next year.

Bailey said: “I am very excited that Marco Gobbetti is joining us as chief executive officer and as a partner to me.

“Marco brings incredible experience and skills in luxury and retail with him that will be invaluable to us. On a personal level, I know that we are going to enjoy a wonderfully collaborative partnership that makes me very excited for our future at Burberry.”

Commenting on the news, WGSN chief content officer Carla Buzasi said: “The City has always been nervous about Christopher as both CEO and Chief Creative Officer. I disagree with the concept that a creative leader cannot be a commercial leader, which seemed to be the opinion of many, but completely understand the view that on a practical level, the reality of juggling two huge roles, would be difficult for even the very best. It’s therefore unsurprising that the market has reacted so positively to the news that a new CEO has been hired, giving Bailey the time and space to concentrate on creating the very best collections, and building the very best brand, and allowing one person to fully concentrate on the role of CEO.”

Julie Brown has also been appointed to the new role of chief operating and financial officer, replacing Carol Fairweather. Brown is currently chief financial officer at the global medical technology business Smith and Nephew plc.

Fairweather will step down from the board by the end of January 2017 and leave the company at the end of the financial year, with the company saying she plans to pursue other opportunities.

Burberry’s share price jumped 6.37% on the news

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