Superdry recommends that shareholders vote against founder’s return
Superdry is fighting back against its founder Julian’s Dunkerton’s attempt to return to the business.
The news follows a request by Dunkerton to convene a general meeting of the company to consider resolutions to elect himself and Peter Williams as directors and a dispute in which he has described Superdry’s strategy as “misguided”.
Superdry saw a 1.5% decline in group revenue in its third quarter after it experienced “subdued” store and online sales, which it blamed on ongoing legacy product issues and unseasonably warm weather. The company is currently working to diversify its product range to make it less reliant on jackets and sweats.
In a statement issued today, Superdry said a shareholder meeting will be held on 2 April and that its board is recommending that shareholders vote against both resolutions. It also said that the board and management team are “wholeheartedly and unanimously” committed to the company’s global digital brand strategy and transformation programme.
In addition, Superdry said that Dunkerton had “prime executive responsibility” for the design direction, range selection and range build of its autumn/winter 2018 range, which it claims contributed to its underperformance. It added: “Mr Dunkerton has failed to accept any responsibility for the autumn/winter 2018 range, even going as far as to claim that he had no involvement despite extensive and detailed evidence.”
Superdry went on to say that Dunkerton’s return would damage the business and lead to strategy that would “fail” due a return to a “narrow and concentrated range mix, high option count, and low rate of sale model with a disregard for consumer and data insight.” It also said it would reintroduce a leadership style that was “divisive” and lead to “dysfunctional relationships” with the board and management.
In the statement, the company also indicated that there is strong institutional shareholder support for its current strategy and management and “no support” for Dunkerton’s return.
Dunkerton stepped down from the business in the spring of last year.
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