LONDON — Adrian Ward-Rees is returning to Burberry in a new role — senior vice president, head of ready-to-wear.
His appointment comes as Burberry changes its approach to its product categories. The company is in the process of setting up three new business units: rtw, accessories and shoes. Each unit will have dedicated commercial planning, merchandising and product development teams.
The company said the aim is to “pool expertise” within each unit to enhance the focus on product; increase agility, and elevate quality. Burberry’s new shoe unit will be headed by an internal hire, and the company is recruiting a head of accessories.
Previously, Burberry’s commercial planning, merchandising and product development teams had worked across all three categories.
Ward-Rees will start on July 20 and report to chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti. He will become a member of Burberry’s executive committee.
Formerly director of men’s wear at Burberry, Ward-Rees left the British brand in 2011 to join Ben Sherman Group as senior vice president of merchandising and commercial director. He has also worked at Lane Crawford, where he was men’s wear general merchandise manager and fashion director, based in Hong Kong.
Most recently he served as senior vice president and managing director of Dior Homme for the past four years.
Gobbetti said the changes that Burberry is making internally are meant to ensure “we have the right structures in place as we enter the next phase of our strategy. I am delighted to welcome back Adrian to Burberry to lead our newly created ready-to-wear business unit.”
He added that “embedding product specialization will enable us to elevate quality and increase our agility, further supporting the momentum we have built across our brand and product and setting us up for future success as markets begin to recover.”
Burberry is due to report its first-quarter trading figures on July 15, and hold its annual general shareholders meeting online that same day.
On Sept. 17, on the eve of London Fashion Week, the brand will stage a physical presentation that will be open for the public to experience digitally. The brand’s chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci said he wants to channel the “purity and simplicity of the outdoors” and redefine the fashion landscape through new forms of expression.