The Burberry designer, Christopher Bailey, one of the key players behind the brand’s extraordinary success, has been promoted to the role of CEO after the announcement Tuesday October 15 2013 of the departure of Angela Ahrendts for Apple in mid-2014.

Sales have doubled under American-born Ahrendts during her eight years with the brand, which have seen the London-based luxury label grow to one of the fashion world’s biggest names. Burberry is renowned for its tech-friendly physical and online stores, link-ups with emerging musical talent, and innovative digital-heavy shows.

After arriving at Burberry in 2001, Bailey now joins an elite group of designers who occupy both CEO and creative director roles. Ralph Lauren, the chairman and CEO at his namesake label, also still runs the design teams, while fellow silver-haired fashion fox Giorgio Armani is currently chief designer, president and CEO of the Armani Group, as well as the sole shareholder of Giorgio Armani S.p.A. (where the eyewatering turnover is in the billions of dollars).

In fact Bailey’s appointment is all the more astonishing considering that he didn’t build the company himself. Another top designer, Karl Lagerfeld, relies on Pier Paolo Righi, CEO of the Karl Lagerfeld brand, to take care of the business while he provides creative direction for Chanel, Fendi and his own label.

So the big questions for consumers remain: what will Bailey change at Burberry, and what is Apple cooking up?

The first question is difficult to answer. Has Bailey been hired as a safe pair of hands, due to his inside-out knowledge of the company, or does he have new ideas for a shake-up that could see new product lines hitting stores once Arendts leaves in 2014?

The Apple question seems easier. With a series of big hires from the fashion world (earlier this year Apple pinched Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve), it looks like Apple is about to move further into the world of wearable tech. Recent smartwatch efforts by Samsung and Sony have been derided for “unfashionable” designs, and the Cupertino-based company will be hoping it can foster more of a luxurious image around any future devices. – AFP RELAXNEWS

Image credit: Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer of Burberry, acknowledges the audience after the Burberry Prorsum 2013 spring/summer collection catwalk show at London Fashion Week in London on September 17, 2012. ©AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT