Burberry executive set to depart the luxury retailer next summer after six years in order to pursue new interests as a chief executive.

John Smith has been with the company for six years, joining as non-executive director before becoming chief operating officer.

News of his departure comes just days after Burberry chief creative and chief executive officer Christoper Bailey received a paycut from £7.5m last year to £1.9m this year.

Bailey said: “John has made a significant contribution to Burberry over the last seven years. I have personally valued and enjoyed John’s partnership and I would like to thank John for everything he has brought to Burberry. Whilst John will remain with us for a while longer, we all wish him much happiness and great success for the future.”

Smith said he was ready for a new challenge. “Having been the CEO of a fast growing international business in the past, I am exploring a number of exciting new leadership opportunities in that arena.”