Christopher Bailey To Exit Burberry After 17 Years

Phoebe Philo has been mooted as a potential successor. By Ella Alexander

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Christopher Bailey is exiting Burberry after 17 years to concentrate on new “creative projects”. He will remain president and chief creative officer of the brand until 31 March 2018, when he will step down from the company’s board.

Back in July, Bailey handed over the title of CEO to Marco Gobbetti and the two have been working together on a new growth strategy for the brand.

“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,” said Christopher Bailey.

“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,” he continued. “I am excited to pursue new creative projects but remain fully committed to the future success of this magnificent brand and to ensuring a smooth transition.”

Bailey is widely credited for hugely boosting the fortunes of Burberry since joining the label in 2001, transforming it from a small outerwear business to an internationally-renowned mega brand. He is also responsible for ensuring that the fashion house was at the forefront of digital progression and advancements. Ever aware of consumers’ changing shopping demands, under Bailey’s lead, Burberry was the first luxury brand to adopt the See Now Buy Now model – making collections available to buy as soon as the show ends, defying fashion show and supply chain traditions.

The Burberry show has become London Fashion Week’s most high-profile and large-scale event. Its front rows are notoriously star-studded, with guests including Kate Hudson, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Kanye West, Sienna Miller, Emma Watson and Penelope Cruz.

Burberry spring/summer 2012 front row
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“Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the Company’s success in that period,” said CEO Gobbetti. “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.”

A successor has not yet been named, but insiders have mooted Phoebe Philo – who is already rumoured to be leaving Celine – as a potential candidate. Interestingly, Gobbetti also came from Celine, where he served as chief executive, working closely with Philo to revitalise the product offering, upping profits and turning Celine into a commercial success story.

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK

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