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TITLE: Chief creative officer
COMPANY: Burberry Group
NEWS THIS YEAR: It’s unusual for fashion designers to occupy both corner offices simultaneously, especially when those offices belong to a FTSE 100 company. Come next year, Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer, will be in that rare position. In an unconventional move that sent the company’s share price down nearly 9 percent, Burberry Group said Bailey would succeed Angela Ahrendts, who will become senior vice president of retail and online stores at Apple, as chief executive officer, while retaining his current creative role.
Bailey, who worked at Gucci under Tom Ford — another left-brain, right-brain designer — and was hired at Burberry by the former ceo, Rose Marie Bravo, has been instrumental in reshaping the brand and selling it to a younger, more international audience.
Bailey last week began to lay out his management vision, naming longtime colleague Luc Goidadin chief design officer to oversee all design activities under Bailey’s direction. He split the group into three pillars: design, product and communication; regions, and operations and finance. Existing executives will assume additional responsibilities. As a result, Bailey will have fewer direct reports than Ahrendts.
Bailey’s appointment comes at a delicate time for the ambitious company, which has recently brought its beauty business in-house — with a few stumbles in doing so, is winding down its Japanese license, grappling with uneven demand in China and negotiating the dynamic between online and brick-and-mortar sales. “We have always seen art and commerce not as opposing forces, but as two sides to the same coin,” he said last week. “There is tremendous potential and fuel in the tank.”
— SAMANTHA CONTI
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