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Burberry appoints Versace's Jonathan Akeroyd as CEO

Lauretta Roberts
21 October 2021

Burberry has named Jonathan Akeroyd, currently the boss of Versace, as its new CEO. He will replace Marco Gobbetti who is leaving at the end of this year to return to Italy to head up Salvatore Ferragamo.

Akeroyd, 54, will take up the post on 1 April next year with a “golden hello” worth around £6 million in deferred cash and shares in lieu of bonuses he has forfeited on leaving Versace. He had been widely tipped as a potential successor to Gobbetti, who held the role for five years.

Chairman Gerry Murphy will lead Burberry on an interim basis until Akeroyd joins next April. Akeroyd has headed up Milan-based Versace, part of Capri Holdings, since 2016. Before that he was CEO of Alexander McQueen for 12 years, helping lead a turnaround of the Kering-owned group.

A British national, Akeroyd has also previously held a number of senior fashion roles at London’s luxury department store Harrods.

Burberry revealed that alongside the buyout award, Akeroyd’s pay package includes a £1.1m annual salary plus cash benefits of £50,000, as well as a potential bonus worth up to £2.2m and long-term incentive share awards worth a possible £1.8 million.

Akeroyd said he was “honoured” to be taking the helm at Burberry, adding: “I have long admired Burberry’s position as the most iconic British luxury brand and I have a deep affection for its storied heritage.

“I am looking forward to returning to London where I first built my career in the luxury industry.”

Murphy said of the appointment: “Jonathan is an experienced leader with a strong track record in building global luxury fashion brands and driving profitable growth.

“He shares our values and our ambition to build on Burberry’s unique British creative heritage and his deep luxury and fashion industry expertise will be key to advancing the next phase of Burberry’s evolution.”

Akeroyd joins Burberry as it emerges after a tough time during the pandemic, which saw stores closed for many months due to lockdowns and European outlets suffering from the lack of international tourists. In the UK, around two-thirds of sales came from tourists, which have largely been absent throughout the pandemic.

But recent figures revealed sales returned to pre-pandemic levels in the three months to 26 June as it sold more products at full price and relied less on discounts.

The next key question for Burberry will be whether chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci elects to remain with the business and how well he gels with Akeroyd if he chooses to do so. Tisci and Gobbetti had a strong relationship having previously worked together at Givenchy.

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