Mulberry adds a touch of French polish

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famous for its luxury handbags, Mulberry is one of the great success stories of British fashion.

So a few eyebrows might have been raised yesterday when the company unveiled a Frenchman as its new chief executive.

But Bruno Guillon has impeccable credentials in the world of fashion and luxury brands.

The 46-year-old joins from Hermès, the family-owned Paris fashion house and his employer for the last decade.

Mr Guillon has also worked for luxury goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy and fragrance company Nina Ricci.

He will succeed current executive chairman Godfrey Davis from March 1.

He described Mulberry, which was founded in 1971 by Roger Saul and his mother Joan in Somerset, was a “great English brand with a unique heritage and an exceptional opportunity for growth”.

Mr Davis, who becomes non-executive chairman, said: “I am delighted that Bruno will be joining us as chief executive.

“We have planned our management succession carefully and have been actively searching for the right candidate since the beginning of this year. Bruno brings with him a wealth of luxury goods experience and an ability to drive our ambitious plans for international growth.”

Mr Guillon will work closely with creative director Emma Hill and the management team who have been responsible for the brand’s recent performance.

Ms Hill said: “I am really looking forward to working with Bruno, we share the same vision for the brand.

“He brings an instinctive understanding of quality and an international perspective that will be invaluable in the next stages of our growth.”

Mulberry’s luxury products, such as its Bayswater and Alexa bags, have become increasingly sought after internationally, and helped the group announce a more than trebling in first-half profit earlier this month.

The company believes it has substantial room for growth in Europe, the United States and Asia.

The luxury goods market has proved resilient to the global economic downturn, with high-end firms such as Burberry, Hermès and LVMH reporting robust sales.

Shares in Mulberry have risen more than 60 per cent this year.