Burberry poaches chief executive from Italian rival Versace

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Burberry Group PLC (LSE:BRBY) has poached its new chief executive from rival Versace, after the British company’s previous boss left for another Italian fashion house during the summer.


Jonathan Akeroyd has headed the Milan-based brand since 2016, which he joined after spending 12 years in the same role at Alexander McQueen. He previously held senior fashion roles at London-based luxury department store Harrods.


READ: Is Burberry still a ‘sell’? UBS weighs in


He will join Burberry on 1 April 2022 with a salary of GBP1.1mln per annum, with a target bonus of 100% of salary and a maximum of 200% of salary, plus a share plan award.


Akeroyd is replacing Marco Gobbetti, who announced his departure earlier this year to return to his native Italy and join footwear brand Salvatore Ferragamo.


Gobbetti is leaving at the end of December, meaning the FTSE 100 group’s chair Gerry Murphy will have to take the lead for three months.


“Jonathan is an experienced leader with a strong track record in building global luxury fashion brands and driving profitable growth,” said Murphy.


“He shares our values and our ambition to build on Burberry’s unique British creative heritage and his deep luxury and fashion industry expertise will be key to advancing the next phase of Burberry’s evolution.”


Analysts at UBS welcomed the appointment but noted that the April start date is likely to delay the trenchcoat maker’s turnaround even further, as it will be unlikely to present an updated strategy until the third quarter of 2022 at the earliest.


“Akeroyd is well regarded by the market, having spearheaded the turnaround of Versace and further built on the heritage of the brand,” the Swiss bank said.


“Although we note that he has not interacted much with investors having led smaller brands, part of bigger publicly listed groups, he did present to the sell-side community at a Kering CMD focused on McQueen, which took place in London in 2015.”


Shares were flat at 1,836p on Wednesday morning.


–Adds analyst comment–

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