Mulberry CEO Guillon quits after turbulent two years

Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:52am EDT
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By Kate Holton and Neil Maidment

LONDON (Reuters) - Bruno Guillon has quit as chief executive of British luxury brand Mulberry MUL.L, bringing an end to a two-year tenure marked by three major profit warnings and a move to hike prices that is yet to pay off.

In a brief statement, the maker of Bayswater and Alexa handbags said Frenchman Guillon had decided to step down immediately. He had been CEO for just over two years, having joined from Birkin handbag maker Hermes (HRMS.PA: Quote).

The statement gave no reason for his departure and did not say if he would receive any payoff. "The board agreed that it was now time to part company," a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Godfrey Davis, 64, currently non-executive chairman after holding such roles as finance chief and CEO in his 27 years with the group, will become executive chairman until a successor is found.

In a statement, Davis said Guillon "has helped improve the quality of the Mulberry offering and enabled the company to increase its international appeal and grown international retail sales.

"I am confident that Mulberry has the heritage, brand appeal and products to build on what has been achieved," he said.

Mulberry shares rose 1.3 percent to 644.5 pence at 0841 GMT.

Under Guillon, Mulberry had hiked prices to take its brand more upmarket from a traditional position of "affordable luxury" and embarked on a drive to increase the company's profile overseas, targeting affluent Asian shoppers with new stores in key tourist spots.   Continued...

A model presents a creation from the Mulberry Spring/Summer 2014 collection during London Fashion Week September 15, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett