MULBERRY’S shares were sent into a tailspin yesterday after the news that creative director Emma Hill, credited with driving the luxury firm’s remarkable growth, is to quit because of a management dispute.
The firm confirmed Hill wished to leave after reports emerged of a clash with Mulberry management, led by new boss Bruno Guillon, over the creative and operational direction of the company.
A spokesperson declined to comment on the reasons for her departure, and said the timing is yet to be finalised.
Hill is widely recognised for driving Mulberry’s international success over the last six years and introducing some of its most popular bags, including the Alexa and Del Rey styles – named after the TV presenter Alexa Chung and singer Lana Del Rey.
The 42-year-old, who was awarded a CBE last year, joined the Somerset-based brand in 2007 having previously worked on accessories at Burberry, Marc Jacobs and Gap.
Mulberry’s shares, which have risen more than tenfold since Hill joined, fell 8.1 per cent yesterday.
“She has done a fantastic job and has been the driving force behind the brand. If you just look at what the shares have done since she got there, that tells the story,” one analyst said.
But Lewis Alexander, a headhunter for the luxury goods sector, suggested Mulberry needed a new director to drive their ready-to-wear business.
“The brand really struggled on their ready-to-wear business especially in key markets like Asia. Chief executive Guillon will be looking for a creative director to bring out the potential of what is one of the few luxury British heritage brands,” he said.