Burberry's new CEO to join firm next week

Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:40am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Marco Gobbetti, recruited last year from French brand Celine to be the new chief executive of Burberry (BRBY.L: Quote), will start work next week and take on full responsibilities in July, the British luxury goods company said on Monday.

Italian Gobbetti was named as Christopher Bailey's successor as Burberry CEO last July but contractual obligations have prevented him from taking charge so far.

Gobbetti arrives at a difficult time for Burberry which rebuffed a takeover approach from U.S. rival Coach (COH.N: Quote) last year according to reports.

Burberry, scheduled to update on Christmas trading on Wednesday, said Gobbetti would start at the firm on Jan. 27 as executive chairman, Asia Pacific and Middle East.

He will not become CEO and join the board until July 5 when Bailey will take on the new role of president and chief creative officer.

The Asia Pacific and Middle East position was created for him by Burberry to enable him to get to know the business before becoming CEO, the firm said.

His arrival will allow Bailey to focus again on the design role that made his name.

Burberry has suffered from depressed demand at U.S. department stores and is exposed to any slowdown in China, with the Chinese consumer accounting for 40 percent of its global retail sales.

It has however been boosted by tourists taking advantage of the weaker pound to spend more in its London stores and the translation benefit when converting overseas revenues to sterling.   Continued...

A customer walks in front of a Burberry store in central London July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico/File Photo