Christopher Bailey is to leave his post at Burberry after 17 years at the helm. The British designer worked in womenswear at Donna Karan and Gucci before he joined the heritage fashion house in 2001, later taking on the roles of chief creative officer and chief executive officer.
Following a relatively turbulent couple of years, with Marco Gobbetti replacing Christopher as CEO in July, he has now announced his plans to leave the company at the end of 2018.
Christopher Bailey is leaving Burberry after 17 years
"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," he said in a statement. "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."
Christopher, 46, thanked his colleagues, fellow board members and chairman Sir John Peace for their support. He also stated that he was excited to pursue new creative projects but remains fully committed to the future success of Burberry.
Gobbetti added in the statement that he understands Bailey's decision and will now begin the process of finding a successor.
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"Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the company's success in that period. While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry give me enormous confidence in our future," he said.
Christopher will remain president and CCO until 31 March 2018, when he will step down from the board. He will stay at the company, in order to ensure a smooth transition, until 31 December 2018.