Salem Radio Network News Thursday, December 2, 2021

Business

UK’s Burberry names Versace boss Akeroyd as CEO

LONDON (Reuters) -British fashion house Burberry named Jonathan Akeroyd as its new chief executive officer from next April, poaching the boss of Milan-based Gianni Versace and former Alexander McQueen head to succeed Marco Gobbetti.

The 165-year-old group had since June been searching for a replacement for Gobbetti, who is leaving four years into his plan to take the brand further upmarket.

The announcement of his departure sent Burberry’s shares down 10%.

Burberry, known for its trench coats and trademark plaid, said in British national Akeroyd, 54, was the right choice to build on its creative heritage.

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

During his five years at Italy’s Versace, Akeroyd had accelerated growth and elevated product, Burberry said. Before that, from 2004-2016, he led the turnaround of British luxury brand Alexander McQueen.

While COVID-19 has over the last months hurt Burberry’s sales by closing its stores across the world, the brand has since recovered.

It said in July its like-for-like sales had risen above pre-pandemic levels, driven by new, younger fans of Riccardo Tisci, the designer who Gobbetti brought in to revitalise the brand and who investors are relieved is staying put.

Gobbetti’s departure has been cast as a personal decision to return to Italy, where he will lead the Italian luxury goods group Ferragamo.

Gobbetti will leave Burberry on Dec. 31. The group said that Murphy would chair the executive committee for the four months until Akeroyd joins on Apr. 1.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton, James Davey and Paul Sandle)

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