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Burberry appoints Gerry Murphy as new chairman

The former Kingfisher chief executive will start in his new role next month.

Burberry has appointed former Kingfisher chief executive Gerry Murphy as its new chairman.

He will succeed incumbent Sir John Peace, who has been in the role for 16 years, on May 17.

Mr Murphy is also currently the chairman of Tate and Lyle and Blackstone’s European equity arm.

Sir John said Burberry had found a “superb” candidate due to his extensive knowledge of the consumer sector – Murphy has previously been chief executive of Kingfisher, Greencore and Carlton Communications, and has served as a non-executive director at Merlin Entertainments and Reckitt Benckiser.

“I am confident he is the right choice to lead the board as Burberry embarks on a new chapter,” Sir John said.

On his appointment, Mr Murphy said: “I am honoured to take up this role and to succeed Sir John as chairman.

“Burberry is a unique British brand that I have admired for a long time and I am looking forward to working with Marco Gobbetti and the board to guide the company through its next phase of growth.”

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Christopher Bailey, former chief executive of Burberry, left the business in October last year (PA)

The search for a new chairman began last June and was spearheaded by senior independent director Jeremy Darroch, who said Murphy had substantial experience both in the UK and abroad, and would be a “great asset” to the company.

Burberry is charting a new course for the brand after Marco Gobbetti took over from Christopher Bailey as chief executive last year, having been the boss of French luxury brand Celine since 2008.

Mr Gobbetti was appointed to lead the famous British business after investors complained about Mr Bailey’s leadership. Shareholders were concerned about flagging sales, and protested about the size of Mr Bailey’s pay packet.

Mr Bailey, who remained as Burberry’s chief creative officer after stepping down as chief executive, announced his decision to exit the business entirely in October last year, saying he wanted to take on new creative projects.

Since taking over, Mr Gobbetti has promised to expand Burberry’s digital sales while making sure Burberry remains “firmly” at the luxury end of the retail market.

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