April 13, 2018 / 1:10 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-British fashion house Burberry appoints new chairman

(Adds Murphy comments, details, background)

April 13 (Reuters) - British fashion house Burberry on Friday appointed Gerry Murphy, currently chairman of Tate & Lyle, as its new chairman, completing a series of changes at the top of the company in the past year.

Murphy, who is also chairman of Blackstone Group International Partners LLP, Blackstone's principal European entity, will take up the role after Burberry's annual shareholder meeting on July 12. He will replace Sir John Peace who is to step down after 16 years in the post.

Burberry, famed for its trench coats and trademark check in camel, red and black, has recently seen the departure of Christopher Bailey, the designer who turned it into a global brand and later became CEO, as well as the appointment last year of new CEO Marco Gobbetti as it seeks to kick-start sales growth.

Its board has also faced criticism from investors about top executives' remuneration, forcing it to reduce overall pay deals.

"Burberry is a unique British brand that I have admired for a long time and I am looking forward to working with Marco Gobbetti and the Board to guide the company through its next phase of growth," Murphy said in a statement.

Luxury goods companies are riding a rebound in Chinese demand and younger shoppers flocking to high-end brands and Gobbetti set out a plan in November to take Burberry further up-market.

The company, however, said then that there would be little, if any, growth in revenue and operating profit until its 2021 financial year as the programme was implemented.

Murphy, who will join Burberry as chairman designate on May 17, has also served as CEO of Kingfisher and Greencore Group, as well as a non-executive director at companies including British American Tobacco, Merlin Entertainments and Reckitt Benckiser.

Senior Independent Director Jeremy Darroch, who led the process to appoint a new chairman, said Murphy's substantial UK Plc and global business experience would be a "great asset" to Burberry.

Burberry also turned last month to former Givenchy star Riccardo Tisci as its new designer, a celebrity favourite who has designed stage costumes for singers Beyonce and Madonna.

Burberry's share price was up 1.1 percent at 1,737.5 pence at 1218 GMT on Friday. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman and Susan Fenton)

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