New era at Burberry as first senior exec change happens this week
Burberry said Friday that the first of its new executive hires joins the company this week with the arrival of chief operating officer and finance head Julie Brown. She replaces outgoing COO John Smith, although he will remain on the board for a transitional period until he leaves later in the year.
Brown also replaces current CFO Carol Fairweather who steps down officially on January 18.
The arrival of Brown, which was originally flagged last summer, marks a key year for Burberry as the company’s current CEO and creative chief prepares for a major change too. Christopher Bailey will retain his creative role but will become company president, handing over the CEO’s title to Marco Gobbetti.
Gobbetti was formerly CEO of LVMH’s Céline unit and at Burberry will have responsibility for all commercial, operational and financial elements of the business, although some analysts have questioned how the new structure will work with Bailey clearly retaining huge power at the firm.
The moves come after investor criticism of slow growth at the company during the luxury downturn, although in the months since the changes were announced, its share price has recovered and it appears to have benefitted from the Brexit boost that has driven tourist spending in its domestic UK market.
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