LONDON — Signaling a commitment to growing its business in the U.S., Burberry has tapped veteran retailer and private equity partner Ron Frasch as a member of its board of directors. He will serve as a non-executive director and a member of the remuneration and nomination committees, with effect from September 1, the company said.
Frasch is an operating partner at the Newton, Mass.-based private equity firm Castanea Partners. His focus is on the luxury space, which includes apparel, accessories, footwear and jewelry.
Prior to joining Castanea, Frasch was president and chief merchandising officer at Saks Fifth Avenue until its sale to Hudson’s Bay Co. in 2013. He also served as chief executive officer and president of Bergdorf Goodman, and has held senior positions at GFT USA, Escada USA and Neiman Marcus.
Frasch serves as a director on the boards of Castanea portfolio companies Aurora Brands, Ippolita and Proenza Schouler. He also serves on the Crocs Inc. board’s audit and governance committee.
“We are delighted to welcome Ron to the board. His great understanding of product and broad experience of working with a wide range of luxury brands will be a great asset to Burberry as we continue to focus on delivering long-term shareholder value,” said Sir John Peace, Burberry’s chairman.
Frasch will join the board at a time of great change for Burberry as the company reworks its strategies, seeks to cut costs and welcomes Marco Gobbetti next month as its new ceo. Christopher Bailey will retain his role as chief creative officer and also will take on the new title of Burberry president.
Frasch is also joining Burberry as it rethinks its strategy in the U.S., where it has a mix of wholesale and retail outlets. Sales have been shrinking in the region due to a variety of factors.
In the first half, the Americas region saw a midsingle-digit decline in sales due partly to the strength of the U.S. dollar, which saw customers opting to buy outside the U.S. Burberry has also been shunning promotional activity at U.S. department stores and curtailing its sales and markdown periods as it seeks to reposition itself in the market.
Frasch is the second major U.S. retailer to join Burberry of late: As reported in May, Judy Collinson, the former Christian Dior Inc., and Barneys New York executive, joined the British brand as chief merchandising officer.
Known as a strong merchant, Collinson was formerly vice president, general merchandising manager, women’s at Barneys, where she worked for 22 years. In her post-Barneys career, Collinson also served as executive director of women’s apparel at Anthropologie, and later joined Christian Dior Inc. as senior vice president of merchandising for the U.S.
Frasch’s appointment also comes amid a series of changes on the Burberry board, with the Australian executive Philip Bowman stepping down later this year. He had been a non-executive director of Burberry since June 2002. Jeremy Darroch, who is already on the board, has been appointed as senior independent director with effect from July 1, succeeding Bowman.
Burberry said Wednesday that it will be up to Darroch to lead the process of appointing a successor to the chairman Sir John Peace. It is anticipated that a successor will be named by the end of 2018, Burberry said.
There are currently 10 directors on the Burberry board.