Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti quits £2.3m-a-year job to return to Italy
Marco Gobbetti has quit as CEO of British luxury fashion house Burberry after nearly five years in the job to return to Italy and join Salvatore Ferragamo.
Gobbetti, who replaced Christopher Bailey in 2017, has taken the new role at the luxury footwear brand in Italy to be closer to his family.
The board will now begin the search for a successor, with Gobbetti staying in post until the end of the year to enable an orderly transition, it added.
Chairman Gerry Murphy said Gobbetti “has had a transformative impact and established a clearly-defined purpose and strategy, an outstanding team and strong brand momentum”.
He added: “The board and I are naturally disappointed by Marco’s decision, but we understand and fully respect his desire to return to Italy after nearly 20 years abroad.
“With the execution of our strategy on track and our outlook unchanged, we are determined to build on Burberry’s strong foundations to accelerate growth and deliver further value for our shareholders.”
Gobbetti, who took home £2.25 million last year in pay and bonuses, said: “With Burberry re-energised and firmly set on a path to strong growth, I feel that now is the right time for me to step down.”
During his time at the luxury fashion brand, Gobbetti has attempted to push more full price items and rely less of discounts and sales.
He also talked about selling products at higher prices and improving marketing and strategy to appeal to more affluent, young consumers.
Prior to joining Burberry, Gobbetti was CEO of Moschino and Givenchy before taking charge at French brand Celine.
It was at Givenchy where Gobbetti worked with Burberry's chief creative officer and fellow Italian Riccardo Tisci, who joined him at Burberry in 2018.
The departure of Gobbetti is bound to raise questions about Tisci's future at the brand. While his designs have proved a success with younger consumers and Tisci studied in London and has a great affection for the British capital, he too is understood to find it difficult spending so much time away from his home country.
Gobbetti has steered Burberry though the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to stores being closed for large parts of the year 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 since lockdown restrictions have eased, the company saw a 32% boost in sales in its most recent results – the three months to the end of March, with strong demand in Asia and the US.
The performance helped limit the fall in full-year revenues to 11% to £2.3 billion, with retail turnover down 9%.