Burberry boss sells £5.2m shares

Burberry chief executive Christopher Bailey has cashed in £5.2m worth of shares just weeks after suffering a bloody nose over his pay package at the hands of shareholders.

Christopher Bailey, chief executive of Burberry, during a visit to Salts Mill in Yorkshire
Christopher Bailey, chief executive of Burberry, during a visit to Salts Mill in Yorkshire

Mr Bailey, previously the luxury brand’s chief creative officer, sold 285,451 shares he received under two different schemes dating back to before he replaced former boss Angela Ahrendts in May.

Separately, he also sold 73,547 shares, according to a stock market announcement by the group, which said the shares were sold yesterday.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

It means Mr Bailey’s holding in the company has been reduced to 303,110 shares, worth £4.4m.

Burberry last month suffered a shareholder rebellion over his pay, with 52.7 per cent voting against the company’s remuneration report.

The Yorkshire-born 43-year-old’s package included a £7.2 million “golden hello” as he took over as chief executive.

Including this performance-based shares award, split over five years, he is in line to receive up to £10.3m a year in salary, pension, variable bonuses and long-term awards each year.

The separate “golden handcuffs” arrangement worth up to £19.5m by 2018, made in his previous role to prevent him from joining rivals, is in addition to this.

Chairman Sir John Peace said at the time that he was disappointed by the shareholder revolt but the vote was not binding and investors did pass a binding remuneration policy resolution by more than four-fifths.

Sir John defended the decision to give Mr Bailey and Ms Ahrendts earlier share awards as a way of keeping “world-class executives” at the company, adding that Mr Bailey could earn more money abroad.

After the vote, the chief executive appeared to brush off the suggestion that he might hand back pay, saying: “It’s not about giving something up. It is not something I made the decision on, it is the remuneration committee and the chairman and the board.”

Mr Bailey grew up in Halifax and describes himself as a “proud Yorkshireman”. His father was a carpenter and mother a window dresser at Marks & Spencer.

Burberry, which dates back to 1856, has traditionally been known for its classic trench coats but has widened its appeal as a luxury brand using celebrity models such as Cara Delevingne and Emma Watson in its advertising campaigns.

It has manufacturing operations in Yorkshire where it makes its iconic trenchcoats, famous for their distinctive red, camel and black check lining.

The group has doubled its capacity at Castleford due to general growth in production needs and the introduction of Burberry Bespoke.

Speaking to analysts in May, Mr Bailey said: “As you know, my new role is an unconventional one corporately, and my background is not that of a traditional CEO.

“As such, I will lead Burberry in my own way, but always guided by a passion for what this unique brand stands for, by a desire to take the business from strength to strength and by a tremendous pride in building its distinctive culture.”