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Burberry reveals surprise departure of Christopher Bailey, its chief creative officer and previous CEO

The group said Bailey will remain its president and chief creative officer until 31 March 2018, when he will step down from the board, but he will provide his full support to new chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti on the transition until 31 December 2018
Burberry bags
Burberry said that Bailey will leave the company by the end of 2018 to “pursue new creative projects”

Burberry PLC (LON:BRBY, OTC:BURBY) has revealed plans for the surprise departure of Christopher Bailey, its chief creative officer who also acted as the fashion group's chief executive officer until earlier this year.

In a statement today, Burberry said that - after 17 years with the FTSE 100-listed firm - Bailey will leave the company by the end of 2018 to “pursue new creative projects”.

READ: Burberry “one of the most exciting restructuring stories in the luxury goods sector”

The group said Bailey will remain its president and chief creative officer until 31 March 2018, when he will step down from the board, but he will provide his full support to new chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti and his team on the transition until 31 December 2018.

Gobbetti commented: "Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the Company's success in that period."

He added: “While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry give me enormous confidence in our future. We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand and I am excited about the opportunity ahead for our teams, our partners and our shareholders."

Shares fall; interims due soon

In reaction to the shock news, Burberry shares in London were down 1.25%, or 24p at 1,898p in mid-morning trading.

Burberry will release its first half results next Thursday, November 9.

In a preview note today, JPMorgan Cazenove raised its target price for Burberry shares to 1,800p from 1.620p and repeated a ‘neutral’ rating on the stock.

The US bank’s analysts said: “We expect a relatively good set of numbers on easy sales and profit comparables. We expect H1 18E Sales up 8% reported to £1,256mln and adj PBT up 23% yoy to £180mln.”

They added: “The H1 18E Results presentation will also mark the first time CEO Mr Gobbetti presents to the investment community and there is much positive anticipation building into what he might announce.”

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