Christopher Bailey shocks the fashion industry as he plans to step down from his role as head of Burberry

The president and chief creative officer of the British luxury brand is leaving in March next year

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  (L to R) Josh Whitehouse, Christopher Bailey and Amber Anderson pose backstage wearing Burberry at the Burberry Womenswear February 2016 Show at Kensington Gardens on February 22, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett / Getty Images for Burberry) *** Local Caption *** Josh Whitehouse; Christopher Bailey; Amber Anderson *** Local Caption ***  BLOG06ap-burberry-perfume04.jpg
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It has just been announced that Christopher Bailey is to leave Burberry in March next year.

After 17 years as the head of the company, the president and chief creative officer will step down from his joint roles on March 31, 2018.

Christopher Bailey's autumn/winter 2017 runway show for Burberry. Courtesy Burberry

In a statement, Bailey said: "It has been the great privilege of my working life to be at Burberry, working alongside and learning from such an extraordinary group of people over the last 17 years. I do truly believe, however, that Burberry's best days are still ahead of her and that the company will go from strength to strength with the strategy we have developed and the exceptional talent we have in place led by Marco."

Marco Gobbetti, Burberry's chief executive, added: "Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001, and Christopher has been instrumental to the company's success in that period. While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry give me enormous confidence for our future."

Bailey has been instrumental to Burberry undergoing some profound changes during his tenure. These include a re-branding to distance itself from the attire of football hooligans, and putting the house back on the prestigious high-fashion platform. He has also been key to the house engaging with a new generation of customers via social media, and even the company’s switch to the See Now, Buy Now model. So, for some at least, it will be hard to envisage Burberry without Bailey at the helm.

Gobbetti, however, seems committed to the future, "We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand and I am excited about the opportunity ahead for our teams, our partners and our shareholders."

Christopher Bailey's autumn/winter 2017 runway show for Burberry. Courtesy Burberry

Of his own future Bailey said: "I am excited to pursue new creative projects, but remain fully committed to the future success of this magnificent brand and to ensuring a smooth transition."

During a visit to Dubai last year, we were given exclusive access to Bailey, and discussed his vision of Burberry.

“What I love is the history of this brand, being able to talk to all different types and characters, roots, genders, cultures and lifestyles, and that’s what we always try to celebrate in the campaigns. We are not defined by a particular time or age, but probably defined by a bit of an attitude. Thomas Burberry was this immense pioneer, and he believed in things, and took risks."

We are keen to see what new risks Mr Bailey will be taking next year.

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