Burberry CFO to leave in second C-suite switch

diving letter:

  • Six-year-old Burberry graduate Julie Brown will step down from her role as the UK retailer’s CFO and chief operating officer effective the end of the company’s fiscal year on April 1, 2023, the company said in a Sept. 23 press release. The company – whose claim to fashion fame rests on its iconic tartan – is a London-based luxury goods retailer, first established in 1856 and listed on the London Stock Exchange.
  • According to the press release, Brown is going on an unnamed opportunity “outside the luxury industry.” The search for her successor is “underway and further updates will be announced in due course,” the company said.
  • “Julie has played a key role in positioning Burberry for growth, supported by a high caliber team,” recently appointed Burberry CEO Jonathan Akeroyd said in a statement included in the press release. “I would like to personally thank her for the support she has given me since I joined six months ago. I look forward to building on the strong foundation we have to realize Burberry’s full potential.”
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Dive insight:

Before joining the luxury brand, Brown served as CFO for medical technology company Smith & Nephew for a four-year period until January 2017, according to her LinkedIn profile. A 25-year-old graduate of biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, Brown served as interim CFO and vice president of corporate finance for the company, and held other key leadership positions during her tenure.

Brown is the latest Burberry veteran to leave his C-suite after the luxury retailer’s former CEO Marco Gobbetti stepped down from the role effective December 31, 2021.

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The company named managing director Jonathan Akeroyd to succeed Gobbetti in an October 20, 2021 announcement with an effective start date of April 1, 2022. According to the company, Akeroyd had served as CEO of Gianni Versace SpA since 2016, according to the company Announcement October 2021.

Gobbetti, now CEO of Italian luxury company Salvatore Ferragamo, was a driving force behind the company’s multi-year plan to further develop Burberry into a more upscale luxury brand, according to a June 2021 article in The New York Times.

During his five years at the helm of the company, he oversaw major changes at the retailer, including price increases, expansion into key new markets like China and the hiring of Givenchy graduate Riccardo Tisci as Burberry’s chief creative officer.

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Akeroyd – given the continued increase in sales – noted that during his first earnings call with the retailer he was “impressed with the progress made” by the company.

Burberry has “led the industry in moving from luxury goods to net zero and supporting communities in need,” he said during the company’s preliminary 2022 financial results conference call held on May 18, according to a transcript of Seeking Alpha.

“As CEO, I have every intention of building on these strong foundations as we focus on accelerating growth,” he said.

The company reported full-year revenue of $2.8 billion for fiscal 2022, up 23% year over year, according to its earnings results.

Burberry declined to comment beyond the statements contained in its press release.

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