Sarah Manley leaving Burberry
Sarah Manley, the single most important communications and marketing executive in British fashion, is leaving Burberry.
Manley will resign from the company at the end of July, though her departure has already been announced internally, according to well-informed sources.
Manley joined Burberry in 2001, one month after the arrival in the house of Christopher Bailey, the creative director who would go on to make Burberry into the only true global British luxury marque. Bailey staged his last collection for Burberry – a LGBTQ-themed show – in London last weekend.
Ever since the announcement in October that Bailey was quitting Burberry first broke, there had been speculation that Manley might also leave. Manley could not be reached for comment.
Her departure will bring to an end a brilliant career within Burberry. Manley first joined the plaid marque as global director of public relations, before rapidly being named Vice President, and then SVP of marketing. For the past ten years she has been Burberry’s Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing a team that has gradually grown to more than 200 staff.
She was part of the core group that led the move of Burberry headquarters in Horseferry Road in Westminster in 2009.
Manley was also a key driver in exporting the Burberry concept internationally, by managing the staging of a massive holographic show; exhibition and store opening combinations in Beijing and Shanghai. She also spearheaded the “London in Los Angeles” mega bash at the Griffith Observatory in the shadow of the Hollywood sign, when David, Victoria, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper Beckham; Elton John; Rosie Huntington-Whiteley; Cara Delevingne; Jason Statham; January Jones and Anna Wintour were among the 700 guests. Every guest getting a plaid scarf with his or her monogrammed initials.
Manley was also instrumental in creating an enterprising digital team in London, as Burberry for many years outpaced all other major luxury brands in terms of attention, coverage and followers on social media.
Aged 53, Manley is believed to be planning a break, as the mother of an 8-year-old son, Ludo. Though, one imagines there will be few shortages of offers for an executive with a uniquely successful track record in brand building and fashion image management.
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