- Six-year Burberry alum Julie Brown will step down from her role as both CFO and chief operating officer for the British retailer at the close of the company’s financial year on April 1, 2023, the company announced in a Sept. 23 press release. The company — whose claim to fashion fame rests on its iconic tartan pattern — is a London-based luxury good retailer first established in 1856 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
- Brown is leaving for an unnamed opportunity “outside of the luxury industry,” according to the release. The search for her successor is “underway and further updates will be announced in due course,” the company said.
- “Julie has played a key role in positioning Burberry for growth, supported by a high-quality team,” recently appointed Burberry CEO Jonathan Akeroyd said in a statement included in the release. “I would like to personally thank her for the support she has provided me since I joined six months ago. I look forward to building on the strong foundations we have in place to realize Burberry's full potential."
Prior to joining the luxury brand, Brown served as CFO for medical technology firm Smith & Nephew for a four-year period ending January 2017, according to her LinkedIn profile. A 25-year alum of biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, Brown served as an interim CFO and VP of group finance for the company, as well as holding other key executive roles during her tenure.
Brown is the latest Burberry veteran to depart its C-Suite, following after the luxury retailer’s previous CEO Marco Gobbetti, who stepped down from the role effective Dec. 31, 2021.
The company named executive Jonathan Akeroyd as Gobbetti’s successor in an Oct. 20, 2021 announcement, citing an effective start date of April 1, 2022. Before jumping to Burberry, Akeroyd had acted as CEO of Gianni Versace SpA since 2016, according to the firm’s October 2021 announcement.
Gobbetti, now CEO of Italian luxury company Salvatore Ferragamo, was a driving force behind 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.
During his five years at the company’s helm, he oversaw large-scale shifts at the retailer including bumping up prices, expanding into key new markets such as China and hiring Givenchy alum Riccardo Tisci as Burberry’s chief creative officer.
Akeroyd — faced with continuing to nudge up sales — noted he was “impressed with the progress made to date” by the company during his first earnings call with the retailer.
Burberry has “lead the industry in luxury’s transition to net zero and supporting communities in need,” he said during the firm’s preliminary 2022 financial results call which took place May 18, according to a transcript by Seeking Alpha.
“As CEO, I fully intend to build on these strong foundations as we focus on accelerating growth,” he said.
The company reported £2.8 billion ($3.1 billion USD) in full year revenue for the 2022 financial year, a 23% increase year-over-year, according to its earnings results.
Burberry declined to comment past the statements included in its press release.
Editor’s note: Story has been updated to reflect the company’s revenue figures in pounds sterling.