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Burberry COO John Smith stands down

Lauretta Roberts
10 June 2016

Burberry COO John Smith has stood down "to pursue new interests" and will leave the British luxury brand after seven years this summer.

Smith has been COO at Burberry since March 2013 and was previously a non-executive director from December 2009. Prior to that he was CEO of BBC Worldwide, the commercial subsidiary of the BBC, from 2004 to 2012.

"With the company’s future strategies now in place, I am ready to embark on a new challenge. Having been the CEO of a fast growing international business in the past, I am exploring a number of exciting new leadership opportunities in that arena," said Smith of his departure.

Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey thanked Smith for his "significant contribution" to Burberry. "I have personally valued and enjoyed John's partnership and I would like to thank John for everything he has brought to Burberry. Whilst John will remain with us for a while longer, we all wish him much happiness and great success for the future," Bailey said.

The move comes around three weeks after Burberry posted a dip in revenue and profits for the 2016 financial year and unveiled an “ambitious three-year” plan to drive growth, improve productivity and cut costs.

In the 12 months to 31 March 2016 the British luxury house posted revenues of £2.5bn, down 1% underlying. Comparable sales were down 1% and would have been up 3% if the challenging markets of Hong Kong and Macau were stripped out of the numbers. Adjusted pre-tax profit was down by £35m (or 10%) to £421m underlying.

It was subsequently revealed that CEO Bailey has taken a 75% cut in his remuneration. Last year he received almost £1.9m in salary, pension and other benefits, which was down from a total of £7.5m the year before.

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