Burberry bolsters media expertise with COO hire

Burberry has appointed former BBC Worldwide CEO John Smith to the new position of chief operating officer as the fashion brand looks to bolster its efforts to use digital media to attract customers.

Copyright Burberry/Testino. 

He will work with Burberry’s existing marketing and creative teams to drive the operational execution of Burberry’s brand strategies, particularly in digital media and mobile technology.

Burberry has previously committed to making all its marketing “mobile first” and in 2011 shifted focus to dedicate 60 per cent of all marketing spend to digital.

Smith will also be responsible for growing Burberry’s new beauty division across all platforms. He will report to Angela Ahrendts, chief executive officer.

Burberry says Smith offers the brand “a unique skill set in global brand management and new media, combined with strong financial and operational experience”.
Smith has served as a non-executive director on the Burberry board since 2009 and will continue in this capacity until he takes on his new role as an executive director on 4 March.

Ahrendts says: “John’s appointment positions us strongly to optimise the significant opportunities available to the brand by channel, region and product division, and to unlock the potential of unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour.”

Smith stepped down from the BBC Worldwide chief executive role after eight years in 2012 and was credited for doubling the company’s revenue, growing profits four-fold and helping to turn Doctor Who, Top Gear and Dancing With The Stars into global franchises.

Prior to leading BBC Worldwide, Smith was the BBC’s chief operating officer and finance director and was responsible for the transformation of the BBC’s property estate, including the purchase of its new Broadcasting House property in central London.

Separately, Burberry’s finance director Stacey Cartwright today (8 February) announced she is leaving the brand after nine years to “pursue new interests”.

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