Burberry CFO to step down in second major shakeup in a year


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Burberry chief financial officer Julie Brown will step down in April after more than five years in the role, the latest change of guard for the British luxury brand as it struggles to keep up with rivals.

The 60-year-old British national, who joined the company in 2017 from medical products maker Smith & Nephew, will also step down as chief operating officer and pursue an opportunity in a different industry, Burberry said on Friday.

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Brown’s departure comes after former CEO Marco Gobbetti, the mastermind of a multi-year plan to reposition Burberry, jumped ship earlier this year after around five years in the role, and new boss Jonathan Akeroyd faces challenged to drive brand sales to pre-pandemic levels.

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“(Brown) has been key in positioning Burberry for growth…I look forward to building on the strong foundation we have in place to realize Burberry’s full potential,” Akeroyd said in a statement. communicated.

Known for its red, black and camel checks and TB monogram and trench coats, London-listed Burberry said it was in the process of identifying a successor to Brown, who has also served on the Prime Minister’s Business Council since february.

Burberry shares, which have fallen 9% over the past year, were down around 4% at 1,645p in morning trading amid broader market weakness. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 1.6%.

Brown’s successor is expected to overcome several hurdles, including weak demand and rising costs.

Burberry was held back by lockdowns in its biggest market, China, and a sharp turnaround in the Americas, limiting its first-quarter sales growth to just 1%.

It also faces rising transportation, raw material and labor costs, but manages them by focusing on purchasing efficiency.

Several consumer companies, from spirits group Diageo to bag maker Birkin Hermès, said they were making money off their most expensive products and expected to continue to do so, despite concerns over the demographic change and slowing growth in China and the United States. (Reporting by Amna Karimi and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Louise Heavens)

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