After 17 years, Christopher Bailey, MBE has decided to call it quits at Burberry.
The company announced that Bailey will remain president and chief creative officer till March 31, and will support the transition till December 31, 2018. He will still design the spring–summer 2018 collection.
Joining in 2001, Bailey has been credited with Burberry’s turnaround, making it into a global British luxury powerhouse brand fêted by celebrities including Sir Elton John, Naomi Campbell, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Will.i.am, Alexa Chung, and Emma Watson. At London Fashion Week, it is usually the biggest celebrity draw.
Revenue at Burberry Group plc is at £2,766 million at the year ended March 31, a far cry from when the run-down brand was associated with chav culture at the turn of the century. Its current market capitalization is at £8,210 million.
Bailey became both CEO and chief creative officer in May 2014. In July 2017, Marco Gobbetti succeeded him as CEO, after consistent drops in operating profit under Bailey.
There is speculation at The Business of Fashion that Phoebe Philo of Céline could succeed Bailey.
In an official release, Gobbetti said, ‘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 organization, 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. I would like to thank all my colleagues as well as [chairman] Sir John Peace and the Board for all their support and faith in me over the years. 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.’