Bailey takes the helm at Burberry

LONDON Thu May 1, 2014 5:35am EDT

LONDON May 1 (Reuters) - Christopher Bailey started his job as chief executive of Burberry on Thursday, six months after the British luxury goods group said he would take over the top role from Angela Ahrendts who leaves for Apple.

Burberry, the 157-year-old-group known for its camel, red and black check pattern, named its creative director Bailey as Ahrendts's successor in October and said the change would take place by mid-2014.

The pair had been credited with helping restore Burberry's cachet after it became a victim of its own success in the 1990s when its trademark pattern was embraced by the mass market, losing its appeal to its core wealthy clientele.

Bailey, who will hold a dual role of chief creative and chief executive officer, faces significant challenges, including the planned integration of Japan into the group on expiry of an apparel licence in 2015, as well as growing revenue in fragrance and beauty after the firm began directly operating that business last year.

Earlier in April, Burberry shrugged off industry jitters about slowing growth in China to post a 19 percent rise in second-half revenue.

Ahrendts, a former executive of U.S. fashion house Liz Claiborne who has headed Burberry since 2006, will take up a newly created position at Apple as a senior vice president with oversight of retail and online stores.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton)