Christopher Bailey

Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail.

Burberry Group said Christopher Bailey started as chief executive officer after Angela Ahrendts formally departed the U.K. luxury-goods maker. Bailey, who retains his job as chief creative officer, had been named to the CEO role on Oct. 15. He succeeds Ahrendts, whose resignation became effective yesterday. Bailey, 42, has a tough act to follow. Under Ahrendts, who led Burberry for almost eight years, sales more than doubled and the shares gained more than threefold. Ahrendts left to run retail operations at Apple.

For years, fashion and luxury goods companies have resisted putting creative and commercial control in one pair of hands. With the appointment of Christopher Bailey as chief executive officer, Burberry aims to prove it can make the formula work. After Bailey takes over the top job from Angela Ahrendts, who is leaving next month to run retail operations at Apple, he'll retain the role of chief creative officer. In that position, he's made Burberry the industry's internet leader while overseeing a reinvigoration of the company's design.

When the Burberry CEO takes over as Apple's retail chief this spring, she will arrive with a sterling track record and an open, collaborative spirit that's sure to shake things up in the executive ranks. Meet the woman charged with making Apple shine again — and what she could mean for its legacy.


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