- London-based retailer Burberry — famous for its iconic tartan pattern and trench coats — has appointed Kate Ferry as CFO. She will join the company by late September, the company announced Wednesday.
- Ferry will replace Julie Brown, who will be leaving the comp;any on April 1 after six years. Ian Brimicombe, current senior vice president of specialist finance and projects, has been appointed as an interim finance chief until Ferry officially takes the role, the company said.
- Last year Jonathan Akeroyd joined Burberry as CEO, replacing Marco Gobbetti.
Brown is departing to pursue an opportunity “outside of the luxury industry,” with British drugmaker GSK plc, where she will be part of a rare all-women leadership team, Reuters previously reported.
Ferry on the other hand, is a luxury brand native, having previously sat in the top financial seat for luxury car firm McLaren Group. Ferry also served as group CFO for TalkTalk, a telecommunications company, from October 2017 until March 2021 and currently serves as the audit chair on the Member Board of Trustees for the British Olympic Foundation, according to her LinkedIn profile.
“I’m very confident that Kate has the energy and experience to support the delivery of our ambitious plan, announced last November by Jonathan, to realize Burberry’s potential in Modern British Luxury,” said Gerry Murphy, chair of Burberry in the statement.
The C-suite shift occurs on the heels of another executive turnover, when current CEO Jonathan Akeroyd was named as Gobbetti’s successor effective April 1, 2022. Before joining the luxury fashion house, Akeroyd had acted as CEO of Gianni Versace SpA since 2016, according to the firm’s October 2021 announcement.
Gobbetti is now the CEO of another luxury fashion brand, Italy-based Salvatore Ferragamo, and was a key part of the firm’s multi-year plan to further elevate Burberry into a more upmarket luxury brand, according to a June 2021 article by The New York Times.
The timing of Gobbetti’s departure was “somewhat awkward,” as he had not yet completed his long-term turnaround strategy, according to an Oct. 20, 2021 report from Industry Dive sister publication Retail Dive.
Burberry reported an increase in comparable store sales of only 1% in the third quarter, according to a January trading update from the company.
Sales in mainland China — Burberry’s biggest market — fell 23 per cent year-over-year in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2022. Excluding China, comparable store sales grew 11%, the company said.