LONDON — Marco Gobbetti, chief executive officer of Burberry, has raised his stake in the brand that he’s promised to revitalize and grow in the long-term.
Gobbetti, who took up his ceo role last summer having previously held a similar role at the LVMH-owned Céline, has exercised options from two awards linked to his former employer, and used them to buy Burberry shares.
The first award amounted to 227,627 shares with a grant value of 4 million euros, and the second award brought with it 51,785 shares with a grant value of 910,000 euros. The awards had been handed to him in the form of nil cost options.
Gobbetti had forfeited both awards when he left LVMH, although Burberry’s remuneration committee agreed to buy them out when he joined the company.
The first award vested in full immediately, while the second one vested only partially. The subsequent tranches of the second award are subject to Gobbetti’s continued employment at Burberry and the original LVMH performance conditions being satisfied.
After selling some of the shares to pay taxes and social security liabilities at a price of 15.47 pounds per share, Gobbetti retained 129,477 shares in Burberry in the overall transaction.
In November, Gobbetti laid out his long-term vision for Burberry: He said his aim is to reverse the trend of slower growth compared with Burberry’s luxury peers, and over the next five years he is looking to achieve “high-single-digit” revenue growth — higher than the 4 to 5 percent that Bain has projected for the sector in the medium-term — and “meaningful” operating margin expansion.
In the meantime, he’s also been hunting for a creative successor to Christopher Bailey, who will show his last collection for Burberry later this month. Gobbetti has said the search could take a while and speculation is growing around Kim Jones, who left his post at Louis Vuitton last month. Phoebe Philo, who worked with Gobbetti at Céline, was also a top contender, although industry sources believe she’s not going to take the job.
The company has declined to comment on the progress of the search or when an announcement might be made.
On Friday, Burberry shares closed down 3 percent at 14.98 pounds.