A little more than two years after taking on the dual roles of CEO and chief creative officer at Burberry, Christopher Bailey is stepping down from the former. The British heritage brand announced Monday that Marco Gobbetti, currently the CEO of Céline, will replace him in that role next year. Meanwhile, Bailey will take on the title of president in addition to remaining chief creative officer. Bailey and Gobbetti will report directly to the chairman.
The news follows a particularly rough year for the brand in terms of financial performance, and the announcement of aggressive plans to streamline the business, from the product to the workforce — and a significant 75 percent pay cut for Bailey.
In a statement, Bailey said:
"I am very excited that Marco Gobbetti is joining us as Chief Executive Officer and as a partner to me. Marco brings incredible experience and skills in luxury and retail with him that will be invaluable to us. I am delighted to welcome Marco and I am looking forward to working closely with him alongside the rest of our highly talented teams. On a personal level, I know that we are going to enjoy a wonderfully collaborative very excited for our future at Burberry."
While the exact reasoning behind this executive switch-up is not yet known, investors have not always been the most supportive of having Bailey control the business side of the company. The Financial Times reported in May that some of Burberry's top investors felt that someone else should take over the CEO role, allowing Bailey to focus on design while maintaining a relationship with that other person in a dynamic similar to the one he had with former CEO Angela Ahrendts, who left for Apple in 2014.
This coincides with the appointment of Julie Brown to the newly created role of chief operating and financial office, following the announcement of current COO John Smith's resignation last month. Brown will join the company and the board in early 2017 and report to the CEO.
Note: This story has been updated to include confirmation from Burberry.