Christopher Bailey, the designer credited with restoring the cachet to fashion brand Burberry is to become chief executive next year when long-standing boss Angela Ahrendts will move to Apple.
The 157-year-old British fashion house, famous for its camel, red and black check pattern, said on Tuesday (October 15) Ahrendts would step down by mid-2014 after which Bailey would combine his role as chief creative officer with being chief executive.
News the 42-year-old Yorkshireman would hold both positions sparked concern among some analysts that he might be taking on too much, and sent shares in the group down 6 percent in early trading, valuing the business at 6.6 billion pounds.
Retail analyst Kate Ormrod from Verdict said the appointment was surprising:
"Definitely an interesting move, we weren't expecting it... Perhaps Angela feels she has achieved all her goals at Burberry. Certainly there is more work for Christopher Bailey to do in terms of building its beauty business and menswear so there is opportunities for growth still but yes certainly an interesting move for Angela."
"I think certainly it's that strong leadership that she brought to the company. Christopher Bailey is very much a visionary and I think that will stand Burberry in good stead. However, it will be interesting to see how he manages both of the roles - CEO and Creative Director. Having said that there is still a strong management team at Burberry so they will definitely support him."
Ahrendts, who has been Burberry boss for eight years, during which time its share price has soared about 250 percent, will take up a newly-created position at Apple as a senior vice president with oversight of retail and online stores. She will report directly to CEO Tim Cook.
Ahrendts will be looking to do better than the last chief executive of a British company who left London to join Apple - John Browett who quit Dixons to lead the iPad and iPhone maker's global retail expansion in 2012. He left six months later.
Presented by Adam Justice