Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s top designer and the man credited with transforming the trench coat maker into a global luxury brand, will leave the company in 2018.
Bailey joined the company as the chief designer in 2001, becoming the chief creative officer in 2009, and his tenure at the company has seen it become an FTSE 100 firm that is worth £8bn.
In 2014, the 46-year-old was launched into the role of chief executive, sharing it with his creative duties.
However, he lost the dual role earlier in 2017 when Marco Gobbetti, from the French fashion house Celine, was brought in to lead the group after the company faced “challenging market conditions.”
Bailey will leave his current role as the chief creative officer and president on March 31 and will remain at the company until the end of 2018 to guarantee a smooth transition.
He has agreed to give up shares that are valued at £16m that were given as part of his pay packages between 2014 and 2017.
Shares were 1 percent lower after the announcement and were not able to claw that ground back by the close of trading.
Bailey is attributed with transforming the 161-year-old company by incorporating its traditional look into contemporary designs as well as adopting the digital marketplace.
However, its international success started to dim as the global economic picture darkened and appetite of China for luxury goods faded.
Meanwhile, Bailey sustained shareholder opposition regarding his pay, with 52 percent of investors refusing a package that is worth up to £23.6m in an AGM revolt in 2014.
A smaller but still significant 31 percent voted against the remuneration report of the company this year, which awarded Bailey with £3.5m for 2016/17, up £1.9m from the year before.
Bailey stated: “It has been a truly inspiring place to work and the decision to leave was not an easy one.
“I do truly believe, however, that Burberry’s best days are still ahead of her and that the company will go from strength to strength.”
Gobbetti stated: “Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the company’s success in that period.”