When Burberry announced the unexpected departure of CEO Marco Gobbetti this week there was no mention of his taking the reins elsewhere. Gobbetti is leaving the UK, not just to return to his native Italy, but also to revive the Italian maison Ferragamo.
Back in April when Ferragamo let its chief designer Paul Andrew go, there was no hint as to a new creative successor or indeed a foreshadowing of a change in management.
Gobbetti has had a relatively short but tumultuous trajectory of four years at Burberry dealing with the exit of Christopher Bailey, moving toward a luxury strategy and navigating Brexit. Despite the hurdles, Gobbetti’s impact boosted the British brand’s market value by 37 percent under his seasoned stewardship. According to Reuters the news of his department and new venture sent Burberry’s London-listed shares tumbling as much as 10 percent in early trade while Ferragamo rose 2.3 percent in Milan.
Ferragamo’s current CEO, Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi, has only been in the role since 2018, but a change in Ferragamo’s board last January may have been the catalyst.
Ferragamo, which was founded in 1927 and began as a shoemaker before expanding with accessories and ready-to-wear, may want to take a similar route to Fendi, which has scored recent commercial successes with the appointment of Kim Jones working alongside the Fendi family.
While the Ferragamo family remains very much involved in the company’s business activities, it hasn’t made the same impact as smaller luxury rival labels such as Bottega Veneta, Marni and Jil Sander.
Gobbetti will be expect to distil his brand of magic to turnaround the Florentine house, after previously working with Phoebe Philo at Celine and with Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy.