LONDON — Burberry Group plc sent a clear signal this week about the scale of its ambitions in the digital media arena.
On Thursday, in a shake-up of top management, Burberry named former BBC executive John Smith chief operating officer, a new post. He will report to chief executive officer Angela Ahrendts.
From 2005 to 2012, Smith served as ceo of BBC Worldwide, the commercial subsidiary of the BBC that broadcasts to 350 million subscribers in more than 100 countries.
At the BBC, Smith turned the popular British TV shows “Doctor Who,” “Top Gear” and “Dancing With the Stars” into global franchises. According to Burberry, he also brought the Web site bbc.com into profit a year ahead of schedule and launched the BBC’s new commercial Global iPlayer, an on-demand playback facility, in 16 countries.
Smith has served as a non-executive director on Burberry’s board since December 2009, and he will continue in that capacity until he takes up his new role as an executive director on March 4.
“This is a hugely exciting time to be joining the executive team at Burberry,” Smith said. “From my three years on the board, I understand the significant opportunities that exist for the business globally and the unique culture that drives its performance. Having had the chance to develop one great British brand on the global stage, it is my privilege now to begin a new chapter at another.”
An industry source said it was not surprising that Smith landed the job. “He was always spoken of reverentially within Burberry, and he was the one board member you really heard talked about,” said the source.
Another industry source said, “Burberry has always been very keen on being more than a fashion and luxury company. It is a FTSE 100 company that aims to be an innovator in the digital space and produce content that sells merchandise.”
Burberry has been at the forefront of digital technology innovation in the luxury space, live-streaming its men’s and women’s fashions shows; allowing customers to order online immediately following the runway shows; launching an in-house social networking site, Art of the Trench, and seeking to fuse the online and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences.
Burberry is also in the thick of setting up an in-house beauty business, and digital and mobile media innovations will no doubt be crucial to its success.
Burberry said separately that Stacey Cartwright, the company’s chief financial officer and a prominent, well-regarded member of the brand’s executive team, will step down after nine years to pursue new interests.
She will be succeeded by Carol Fairweather, who has been named cfo-designate with immediate effect and will become cfo after Cartwright’s departure following the annual general meeting in July.
Fairweather has been with Burberry for six years, most recently as senior vice president, group finance.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)