In an atypical move, Bailey will keep his position as President and Chief Creative Officer until March 31, 2018 — enough time to see the March 2018 collection through to completion. At that time, Bailey will cede creative control and step down from the board, but will remain with the company and CEO Marco Gobbetti to "provide support" with the transition until December 31, 2018.
In his time with Burberry, Bailey has grown the brand from a once-forgotten British heritage brand to a fashion powerhouse. There was a slight hiccup when Burberry appointed Bailey to also serve as CEO in 2014; while figures were initially promising, the brand soon hit the same sales speed bumps as its luxury peers, and Bailey saw his once-lucrative bonuses slashed by nearly 75 percent. Gobbetti joined Burberry from Céline in July of this year to take over the CEO role as part of a new leadership team.
There is no word on what Bailey might do next, but it is clear that both he and the Burberry team are invested in the long-term success of the brand and in having as smooth a creative transition as possible — something almost unheard of in today's world of increasingly frequent designer musical chairs.
See Bailey's full statement below:
"It has been the great privilege of my working life to be at Burberry, working alongside and learning from such an extraordinary group of people over the last 17 years. Burberry encapsulates so much of what is great about Britain. As an organisation, it is creative, innovative and outward looking. It celebrates diversity and challenges received wisdoms. It is over 160 years old, but it has a young spirit. It is part of the establishment, but it is always changing, and always learning. It has been a truly inspiring place to work and the decision to leave was not an easy one. I do truly believe, however, that Burberry's best days are still ahead of her and that the company will go from strength to strength with the strategy we have developed and the exceptional talent we have in place led by Marco. I would like to thank all my colleagues as well as Sir John Peace and the Board for all their support and faith in me over the years. I am excited to pursue new creative projects but remain fully committed to the future success of this magnificent brand and to ensuring a smooth transition."