UPDATED: Bailey ends his 17-year stint at Burberry

Christopher Bailey    Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Christopher Bailey Picture: Bruce Rollinson
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Burberry has confirmed that president Christopher Bailey will step down from the board next year, ending his 17-year stint at the high-end fashion house.

Mr Bailey led the firm as chief executive from 2014, but was succeeded by Marco Gobbetti in July, allowing him to take up the role of president and chief creative officer.

While he will step down from the board on March 31 2018, Burberry said he would be staying on to help with the transition until December next year.

Burberry said it will launch a search for a successor to Mr Bailey, who first joined the company in 2001.

Chairman Sir John Peace said the company was being left in capable hands.

“(Mr Bailey) has been a great partner to me and he leaves the company in the very best of hands, with a strong team and culture in place, led by Marco as CEO.

“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.”

In July, Burberry unveiled rising first-quarter sales, driven by strong performances in China and in the UK.

The company reported a 3 per cent increase in retail sales to £478m in the three months to June 30, while like-for-like sales rose 4 per cent in the first set of results under Mr Gobbetti.

Revenue was helped by the UK, where the weaker pound lifted sales, although Burberry said it saw a “deceleration” of this trend towards the end of the quarter. But questions are likely to be raised about the size of Mr Bailey’s final pay packet.

Shareholders earlier this summer dealt a blow to Burberry over executive pay, with nearly a third voting against generous payouts that include a £5.4m share award for Mr Bailey.

In total, he received £3.53m for the year to March 31, nearly double the £1.89m he pocketed a year earlier.

Burberry said the full details of his pay would be disclosed in the company’s annual report, covering the year ending March 31 and the subsequent year “as appropriate”.

However, it noted that Mr Bailey has agreed to waive some benefits, including the pro-rated portion of the second tranche of his 2014 performance-based award, as well as the third tranche.

He will receive a performance-based bonus for the year to March, but not for the transition period from April to December, Burberry said.

Burberry shares were nearly flat on the news, up just 1p at 1,923p in morning trading.

Mr Bailey, who is from Halifax, 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.”

The former chief executive added that Burberry’s best days were still ahead.

“The company will go from strength to strength with the strategy we have developed.”

In September, Mr Bailey said Burberry was “absolutely committed” to keeping its manufacturing in Yorkshire.

His comments follow the decision in July to scrap plans to open a new state-of-the-art manufacturing and weaving facility at the Grade I listed Temple Works building in Leeds’s South Bank.

The luxury fashion brand has said it is considering whether to develop the 10 acres of land it owns next to the building or whether to maintain the sites it currently owns at Castleford and Cross Hills in Yorkshire. Another option would be to build a new greenfield site.