Burberry is evolving its approach to the product with the company creating three new business units and hiring a new ready-to-wear business chief.
This is a business appointment rather than a design one as the firm sets up new units covering Ready-to-Wear, Accessories, and Shoes and says it will “pool expertise within them to enhance our product focus, increase our agility and elevate quality”.
As part of this, a former Burberry merchandising director, Adrian Ward-Rees, is re-joining the firm and will lead the RTW unit. Ward-Rees “has extensive experience in luxury retail and apparel” and was previously at Christian Dior where he served as Senior VP and MD of Dior Homme for the past four years. He’s also worked at Lane Crawford as well as in the merchandising role for Burberry.
He starts on July 20 with the title SVP, Head of Ready-to-Wear, and will be based in London, reporting directly to CEO Marco Gobbetti and joining Burberry’s Executive Committee.
Gobbetti said the “changes we intend to make will ensure we have the right structures in place as we enter the next phase of our strategy. I am delighted to welcome back Adrian to Burberry. Embedding product specialization will enable us to elevate quality and increase our agility, further supporting the momentum we have built across our brand and product and setting us up for future success as markets begin to recover.”
It’s an interesting development that beefs up the business-focused element of Burberry’s senior team and marks a complete turnaround from the Christopher Bailey days when Bailey, originally the firm’s creative chief, also became its CEO. Today, as it continues to revamp its strategy, it’s clearly putting robust business practices in place and leaving the design team under Riccardo Tisci to focus on their core functions with a strong business team in place to support and work with them.