Rose Marie Bravo, chief executive of British luxury brand Burberry, has announced her departure from the company she turned around. Bravo plans to leave Burberry once the brand has demerged from its majority shareholder GUS. Bravo plans to relinquish her position when her contract is due for renewal next July. The FT reports that she will receive a pay-out of 2.5 million Burberry shares valued at £10.6 million. The amount is part of a deferred bonus that was agreed upon at the time of Burberry’s partial IPO in 2002.
In December, the British retail and financial services company group GUS will demerge 66 percent of its stake in the brand and assign the shares to GUS shareholders, according to the proportion of their holdings.
For eight years, Bravo transformed the dusty image of the small label Burberry into a world-renowned luxury brand worn by celebrities and royalty alike. With ad campaigns featuring the likes of Stella Tennant and Kate Moss, the brand achieved immediate recognition and association with some of the trendiest people in the world. Since Bravo joined the company, profits soared more than five-fold to £164 million during the seven years ended March 2005. It is believed that Bravo will continue at the company in a different capacity, perhaps as life president.
Chief executive of GUS and chairman of Burberry, John Peace and Bravo are thought to be discussing possible successors. One of the candidates is Brian Blake, the COO who joined Burberry last year. The changes will be outlined in an information document that will be released to shareholders before the £1.4 billion demerger. Peace is also discussing alternatives for GUS shareholders who may not want shares in Burberry. In a recent interview with the FT he said: “We will try to offer some flexibility.”