Michael Burke, former CEO of Fendi took over in February this year the highest position at Italian jeweller Bvlgari, which was purchased last year by French giant LVMH. In an interview to WWD, with the occasion of the annoucement last week of a US$ 20 million donation to Save The Children, Burke has spoken about surprise and speed as two essential features of this new strategy at Bvlgari. Since his tenure, Bvlgari has made significant steps in concentrating on its core activities (jewellery and watches) and some of these initiatives included cancelling the brand’s skin care line and developing a smaller, yet more luxurious handbags collection which was unveiled last month.
Another important change in Burke’s strategy was Bvlgari’s return to the iconic Parisian Biennale des Antiquaires in September, a presence which was widely applauded, the brand presenting some exceptional high end jewellery pieces.
Last week, Bvlgari unveiled its ”Stop Think Give” exhibition of photography by Fabrizio Ferry, featuring 150 celebrities wearing a ring for the sale of which proceeds will be donated to Save The Children. The lavish event which took place in Rome at Palazzo Peci Blunt was attended by a large number of international celebrities. Since Burke took over at Bvlgari, the brand appointed new ambassadors, for instance actor Adrien Brody and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi
More results of Burke’s work at Bvlgari will be visible at the upcoming BaselWorld exhibition, where the brand will be showcasing its latest watches collection, which, otherwise, has been a major focus of development for the new CEO. Part of his strategy for the development of watches, Burke is developing and investing in new channels of distribution – recently, Bvlgari signed an partnership with Neiman Marcus in the U.S.
As for retail expansion, Burke still considers Japan the number one market, ”an ideal market” as he calls it – despite the growing presence in China (already 35 Bvlgari boutiques). While he emphasized the slow down in Europe and sluggish development in India, Burke sees important growth opportunities in Brazil and Turkey.
One of Burke’s short term priorities is redesigning the interiors of its stores wordlwide, a project which he has been discussing with famed interior designer Peter Marino. Details are not yet available, but Burke confirmed that extensive research is currently ongoing. Bulgari has 300 stores worldwide, of which 175 directly operated.
sources: CPP and WWD
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