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Burberry has appointed Jonathan Akeroyd as its next chief executive in a deal including a £6m “golden hello” to cover the loss of bonus and share awards for leaving his position as boss of rival Versace.
The 54-year-old has been the boss of Versace since 2016, overseeing the $2.1bn sale of the business to Michael Kors three years ago. Burberry’s outgoing chief executive, Marco Gobbetti, is due to leave Britain’s biggest high fashion brand to take the top job at luxury Italian group Salvatore Ferragamo at the end of the year.
Akeroyd, who previously spent 12 years at Alexander McQueen leading the brand through the aftermath of the death of its eponymous founder, will join Burberry on 1 April next year. The British national previously also held a number of senior fashion roles at London’s luxury department store Harrods.
“I have long admired Burberry’s position as the most iconic British luxury brand and I have a deep affection for its storied heritage,” said Akeroyd. “I am looking forward to returning to London where I first built my career with ambitious plans for the future.”
Burberry has agreed to give Akeroyd cash and share awards worth £6m over the next four years to cover the loss of share and cash incentives at Versace that he will have to forfeit for leaving. “These buyout awards are in line with the type of award and deferral schedule of the awards being forfeited by Jonathan,” the company said.
He is also set to be paid a base salary of £1.1m, with a maximum annual bonus worth up to 200% of his base, and a share plan worth 162.5% of annual salary.
Burberry’s chairman, Gerry Murphy, who will lead Burberry on an interim basis in the gap before Akeroyd joins, said: “Jonathan is an experienced leader with a strong track record in building global luxury fashion brands and driving profitable growth.
“He shares our values and our ambition to build on Burberry’s unique British creative heritage and his deep luxury and fashion in distrust expertise will be key to advancing the next phase of Burberry’s evolution.”
In July, Burberry, which operates 454 stores concessions and franchises globally, reported that sales had returned to pre-pandemic levels driven by a boom in younger shoppers, with products including leather goods, jackets and shoes proving particularly popular.