Christopher Bailey set to bow out of Burberry in shock departure

Alys Key
Follow Alys
Burberry Prorsum Runway - LFW Autumn/Winter 2010
Bailey will leave the company by the end of 2018 (Source: Getty)

Shares in Burberry fell today after Christopher Bailey, its chief creative officer who also acted as the fashion brand's chief executive until earlier this year, will leave the company by the end of 2018.

Shares fell as much as three per cent after it announced Bailey has decided to pursue other projects after 17 years at the company.

"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,” commented Bailey.

He joined Burberry in 2001 to head up design, but was controversially named CEO in October 2013 following the departure of Angela Ahrendts.

Shares took a tumble under Bailey in 2016 following warnings of a "challenging environment" and the possible impact of Brexit, hitting 1,066p in June. The company faced a shareholder revolt over Bailey's pay earlier this year, as almost a third voted against it.

However, earlier this year the company said Bailey was stepping to a dual role as creative director and president, while Marco Gobbetti took over as chief executive. Since then, shares have rallied to over 1,925p.

Bailey has committed to a smooth transition and said he will support Gobbetti, who 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."

Chairman Sir John Peace added: "I have total confidence that Marco’s vision and leadership, with the excellent management team in place, will keep Burberry on the forefront creatively, digitally and financially, creating further value for shareholders in the next exciting stage of our evolution."

Read more: Former Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey: Brexit is "enormous" opportunity

Related articles