Mulberry poaches Céline top designer Johnny Coca as creative director

Shares jumped more than 7% as investors welcomed the news

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The Independent Online

Mulberry has finally ended its 18-month search for a creative director as it pulled off a coup by appointing French fashion house Céline’s top accessories designer.

Spanish-born Johnny Coca will start in July, filling the hole left by star designer Emma Hill who left in September last year.

Coca, who will move from France to London to take up the post, will be tasked with improving the fortunes of the brand famous for its celebrity endorsed bags including model Cara Delevingne and presenter Alexa Chung.

News of Coca’s appointment was welcome relief to investors after the departure of chief executive Bruno Guillon this year amid a string of profit warnings.

The shares were down 70 per cent from their May 2012 peak but a u-turn on its ill-fated focus on ultra-expensive handbags has steadied the company.

 

Today shares rose more than 7 per cent to 804p. Coca, who is said to be a fan of London’s design scene and teaches at Central St Martins in the capital, will run a team of 30 designers and product development experts and report into Davis.

Mulberry will next week reveal its half year results and investors now await the appointment of a new chief executive. Currently former chief executive Godfrey Davis runs the business as executive chairman.

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Davis said: “We are delighted that Johnny is joining us. We believe in his talent and we are super happy with his background. He loves the uniqueness and Britishness of the Mulberry brand and has a wealth of international luxury and fashion experience that will help us bring new energy and innovation to Mulberry.”

Coca, who is currently head design director at LVMH-owned Céline across leather goods, shoes, hard accessories, jewellery and sunglasses, said: “I very much look forward to joining Mulberry as their new creative director and to leading a new design direction at one of the very best British brands.”

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