The founder and former boss of British fashion group Superdry, Julian Dunkerton, has called for a shareholders’ meeting in an effort to force a return to the board of the company after a series of profit warnings that sent the shares of the firm plummeting.
Dunkerton and the co-founder and former brand and design director of Superdry, James Holder, together own almost 29 percent of the equity of the firm. Holder also wants to place an industry veteran who is currently the chairman of online fashion retailer Boohoo, Peter Williams, onto the board of the company.
The main products of Superdry are hoodies, jackets, and sweatshirts. It has issued a series of profit warnings, the most recent in December, and its shares have plunged by 68 percent over the past year. It is currently led by Chief Executive Euan Sutherland.
Dunkerton owns 18.4 percent of the shares of the company. It left the business a year ago since he could not “put his name to the strategy.” He particularly does not agree with the product and internet plans of Superdry.
Last April, Superdry launched an 18-month product innovation and diversification programme that aims to reduce its over-reliance on cold weather clothing by trying to enter new areas including children’s clothes.
It has since reported “early progress” with the plan and has resisted the efforts of Dunkerton to return as the director of brand and product.
In a statement that was published on his ‘SaveSuperdry.com’ website, Dunkerton stated: “Since I left the board in March 2018, the company and the brand have been devastated through a misguided strategy.”
He added: “Having exhausted all other options for a constructive and consensual solution with the board, we have been left with no option but to requisition a general meeting to put the question of my return to the board… to a shareholder vote.”
As a response, to the remarks of Dunkerton, Superdry said that it did not want Dunkerton back to the company.
It stated: “Dunkerton’s views on the strategic direction of the group are directly at odds with the unanimous views of the management team and the board and therefore his return to the business would be counter-productive and highly disruptive.”
The firm added that it did not believe that Williams could ever be an independent director given the context of his proposed appointment.
Superdry has only 21 days to disclose when the shareholders’ meeting will be.
The shares in Superdry were up by 2.9 percent at 1602 GMT, valuing the business at approximately 439 million pounds ($580.80 million).