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Sep 23, 2022
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Burberry CFO plans to step down

Reuters API
Sep 23, 2022

Burberry finance chief Julie Brown will step down in April after more than five years in the role, the latest change of guard at the British luxury brand as it struggles to keep up with rivals.

Burberry - Reuters

The 60-year-old British national, who joined the company in 2017 from medical products maker Smith & Nephew, will also leave her role as chief operating officer and will take up an opportunity in a different industry, Burberry said on Friday.

Brown's departure comes after former CEO Marco Gobbetti, the mastermind of a multi-year plan to reposition Burberry, jumped ship earlier this year after around five years in the role, and new boss Jonathan Akeroyd faces the challenge of steering the brand's sales to pre-pandemic levels.

"(Brown) has played a key role in positioning Burberry for growth ... I look forward to building on the strong foundations we have in place to realise Burberry's full potential," Akeroyd said in a statement.

Known for its red, black and camel check and TB monogram and trenchcoats, London-listed Burberry said it was in the process of identifying a successor to Brown, who has also been on the Prime Minister's Business Council since February.

Burberry shares, which fell 9% over the last year, were down about 4% at 1,645 pence in morning trading amid broader market weakness. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 1.6%.

Brown's successor would have to navigate several hurdles, including weak demand and rising costs.

Burberry was held back by lockdowns in its biggest market China and an abrupt reversal in fortunes in the Americas, limiting its first-quarter sales growth to just 1%.

It is also facing rising transportation, commodity and labour costs, but it has been managing them by focusing on procurement efficiencies.

Several consumer companies, from spirits group Diageo to Birkin bag maker Hermes have indicated they are making money from their most expensive products and expect to continue to do so, despite worries of a changing demographics and slowing growth in China and the United States.

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