"It has been the great privilege of my working life to be at Burberry, working alongside and learning from such an extraordinary group of people over the last 17 years. Burberry encapsulates so much of what is great about Britain. As an organisation, it is creative, innovative and outward looking. It celebrates diversity and challenges received wisdoms. It is over 160 years old, but it has a young spirit," Bailey said of the fashion house that he joined in 2001 and is currently president and chief creative officer of, in a statement released by the brand this morning. "It is part of the establishment, but it is always changing, and always learning. It has been a truly inspiring place to work and the decision to leave was not an easy one. I do truly believe, however, that Burberry’s best days are still ahead of her and that the company will go from strength to strength with the strategy we have developed and the exceptional talent we have in place led by Marco. I would like to thank all my colleagues as well as Sir John Peace and the Board for all their support and faith in me over the years. I am excited to pursue new creative projects but remain fully committed to the future success of this magnificent brand and to ensuring a smooth transition."
The brand confirmed that Bailey will remain in his roles until March 31 2018, when he will step down from the board. He will then continue to provide support to chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti and the team on the transition until the end of the year. Having joined the fashion house as design director, he was promoted to chief creative officer and CEO in 2014 but handed the reins of the latter position to Gobbetti last year. Prior to Burberry, Bailey - who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1994 - worked at Donna Karan and Gucci.
Gobbetti said this morning of the departure: "Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the company’s success in that period. While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry give me enormous confidence in our future. We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand and I am excited about the opportunity ahead for our teams, our partners and our shareholders."