Christopher Bailey on the Burberry Shakeup

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Christopher Bailey on the Burberry Shakeup


A few hours after the news of the transitions occurring at Burberry broke yesterday, Christopher Bailey spoke with Business of Fashion to shed light not only on the shift, but the process leading up to it. With the ingress of Marco Gobbetti from Céline and Julie Brown of Smith and Nephew, this transition is no light matter.

A major part of the decision to take on a new CEO and a partner for Bailey was due to the shifts the company has faced over the last several years, both as an individual, and in relation to the industry as a whole. “We were really a licensed business, we then became a wholesale business, then we shifted to a retail business and today we are a truly omnichannel digital and physical retail business,” Bailey told the publication. “I just felt that we need some real retail expertise in the company, but I needed to do a more formal business review to really identify exactly how we were going to do that. Simultaneously I had started to look for somebody I could partner with, who really had the gravitas or the experience of a true luxury retailer. And that kind of eventually led me to meeting Marco.”

With the shifts in the industry, and so many new brands emerging at greater speeds each year, companies need to be able to evolve and adapt to meet these pressures with a firm understanding in order to survive. “As soon as I met him, we had a very, very strong chemistry,” Bailey continued. “He has a profound understanding of retail and retail execution. He has also got an incredibly global experience; he is somebody that has done a lot of work in the US, of course in Europe but also in Asia, so he thinks very globally and that is relatively unusual.”

Rather than clutching at the reins to maintain control, Bailey has embraced new leadership in order to give both himself and Burberry the knowledgeable support that is so necessary to  ensure the company’s future success. “I think the role of any leader is to take themselves out of the situation and to say what is right for the company going forward,” Bailey remarked in the interview. “And that is what I have always done, throughout my career, not just at Burberry, and to know to identify what my skills are, where I add the most value and where my strengths are not and where we need to add those strengths.”


Christopher Bailey on the Burberry Shakeup

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Written by Lillie Peterson

Lillie is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in Classics and a lifelong fascination for fashion and art. A freelance writer and artist, her hobbies include photography, design, drawing and blogging.

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