Bruno Guillon named as new Mulberry CEO


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The Independent Online

British success story Mulberry today unveiled a Frenchman as its new chief executive.

The luxury handbag maker, which has stared down the economic gloom in recent years with soaring sales and profits, has poached 46-year-old Bruno Guillon from French luxury brand Hermes.

Mr Guillon, who also previously worked for Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), will succeed current executive chairman Godfrey Davis from March 1 next year.

He said Mulberry, which was founded in 1971 by Roger Saul and his mother Joan in Somerset, was a "great English brand with a unique heritage and an exceptional opportunity for growth".

Investors welcomed Mr Guillon's appointment, with Mulberry shares rising nearly 3% after the announcement.

Philip Dorgan, an analyst at brokers Panmure Gordon, said: "Mr Guillon seems to have the perfect pedigree and he certainly has a magnificent opportunity to take Mulberry on to another level."

Mr Guillon will have a tough act to follow as Mr Davis, who will continue as non-executive chairman, has been with Mulberry for 24 years and took up the top post in 2002.

The group, which has 86 stores and concessions worldwide, including 44 in the UK, posted a 44% increase in like-for-like retail sales in the six months to September and nearly trebled profits to £15.6 million.

Mr Guillon's global experience will be key to Mulberry's focus on international expansion, which has tapped into high demand in Asian markets.

The company's best-known product of recent times has been the Alexa bag - inspired by model and TV presenter Alexa Chung - but under creative director Emma Hill it has also won praise for next year's ranges.

Mulberry plans to expand its factory, The Rookery, in Chilcompton, Somerset, in a £2 million investment, which will increase the brand's manufacturing capacity by 30%.