LONDON — Burberry’s chief executive officer Rose Marie Bravo, the driving force behind the renaissance at the British luxury label, agreed to extend her contract another year to July 2006 as the company reported that first-quarter sales climbed 6 percent to $194 million (103.7 million pounds) from $177 million (97.4 million pounds).
“I love what I’m doing,” Bravo told WWD. “And I’m very stimulated by my team — they are like a family to me. And there is so much more to do. You name it, we can do better. We can have higher standards.”
Bravo stepped in as ceo in 1997, when the firm was known only for its traditional trenchcoats and check pattern, and turned it into a major global luxury brand. She will be able to renew her contract on an annual basis, a Burberry spokeswoman said.
“I think it’s a great relief to the markets that she’s staying,” said Melanie Flouquet, equities analyst at J.P. Morgan in London. “People were a bit nervous that she was going to leave. She is so closely associated with the brand.”
Rhys Williams, equities analyst at Seymour Pierce, agreed: “It’s positive news. Under her reign…the group has been turned into a global luxury brand.”
“The board is delighted that Rose Marie has extended her contract,” said John Peace, chairman of Burberry, in a statement. “Under her leadership, Burberry has been transformed into an international luxury brand, and the business has achieved great success with respect to revenues and profitability.”
Bravo scored a 100 percent bonus for her performance in the 2003-04 fiscal year, when profits soared 75.3 percent to $171.1 million (91.5 million pounds), thanks in part to huge gains. Turnover rose 13.8 percent to $1.26 billion (675.8 million pounds).
In exchange for hitting Burberry’s internal sales and profit targets, Bravo received $1,568,000 — the equivalent of her base salary — as a reward, according to the company’s latest annual report, issued last month.
Shareholders will be asked to approve that bonus and other details regarding the company during the annual general shareholders’ meeting, scheduled for today in London.
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