Gobbetti took over from joint create chief and CEO Christopher Bailey nearly five years ago and created a new, more upmarket strategy, working closely with new creative director Riccardo Tisci.

The company said it’s now starting the search for a successor. Gobbetti is going to be working with chairman Gerry Murphy in the the interim “to provide full support to the executive leadership team on an orderly transition” but it’s clearly going to be an uncertain period for the firm.

Burberry is bouncing back and continuing its Gobbetti-driven strategy post-pandemic and there’s likely to be no shortage of executives eager to run it. But leaders with the experience and ability to head such a major luxury business don’t come along every day. As mentioned, Burberry said it expects Gobbetti will stay on until the end of the calendar year. But there’s a chance any new pick could have an extensive lock-in period in their current role that may extend into 2022. One option could be for an internal candidate to step up, but so far, there's no hint of where Burberry might be looking to replace Gobbetti.

For now, Gerry Murphy said: “I would like to thank Marco for his partnership and the immense contribution he has made to Burberry. He has had a transformative impact and established a clearly-defined purpose and strategy, an outstanding team and strong brand momentum. The board and I are naturally disappointed by Marco's decision but we understand and fully respect his desire to return to Italy after nearly 20 years abroad. With the execution of our strategy on track and our outlook unchanged, we are determined to build on Burberry's strong foundations to accelerate growth and deliver further value for our shareholders.”

Gobbetti added that “it has been an incredible privilege to serve as Burberry's CEO and lead such a hugely talented team. As a group, we have elevated and strengthened the brand and the business, while continuing to be a force for good. With Burberry re-energised and firmly set on a path to strong growth, I feel that now is the right time for me to step down. I would like to thank my colleagues as well as Gerry and the board for their partnership.” Via