Ex-su­perdry boss’s re­turn ‘would be a big dis­trac­tion’

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Oliver Gill

FOR­MER Su­perdry boss Ju­lian Dunker­ton is strug­gling to woo in­vestors in a bid to wrest con­trol of the fash­ion la­bel he founded, with his po­ten­tial re­turn de­scribed as a “very big dis­trac­tion” by one of the com­pany’s top share­hold­ers.

Mr Dunker­ton, who re­mains Su­perdry’s largest share­holder, launched his “man­i­festo” for the busi­ness last week, in­sist­ing Euan Suther­land, the cur­rent chief ex­ec­u­tive, is de­valu­ing the brand by bring­ing in too many new items.

One of Su­perdry’s top 10 share­hold­ers told The Sun­day Tele­graph they would be “will­ing to lis­ten if he has ideas to make it [Su­perdry] bet­ter” but warned Mr Dunker­ton’s re­turn would likely “end up be­ing a very big dis­trac­tion for the man­age­ment team”.

They said: “If Ju­lian wants to come back and be CEO, we would say he’s sort of done that. He’s ob­vi­ously got skills on the en­trepreneurial and de­sign side but we would ac­knowl­edge he doesn’t have the skill set to fully run the busi­ness.”

“I imag­ine most of the share­hold­ers will be feel­ing a sim­i­lar way if they were brought into a strat­egy by a man­age­ment team who so far were pretty suc­cess­ful.”

Mr Dunker­ton quit as chief ex­ec­u­tive in 2014 in the wake of mul­ti­ple profit warn­ings. Repli­cat­ing oth­ers on the high street, Su­perdry has en­dured a tor­rid 2018. Shares have col­lapsed by around two thirds amid fresh profit warn­ings.

His 18pc stake al­lows him a seat on the com­pany’s board but he stepped down ear­lier this year.

Su­perdry’s sec­ond-largest in­vestor, Aberdeen Stan­dard, crit­i­cised Mr Dunker­ton’s de­ci­sion to go pub­lic be­fore en­gag­ing pri­vately with other in­vestors. In­vest­ment di­rec­tor Fred­erik Nas­sauer said he was “dis­ap­pointed”, adding that the fund man­ager is “sup­port­ive of the man­age­ment team, of the board and of the cur­rent strat­egy”, he said.

Co-founder James Holder, who also re­tains a sub­stan­tial stake in the com­pany, is un­der­stood to sup­port Mr Dunker­ton’s plans for a re­turn.

For­mer boss Ju­lian Dunker­ton says the cur­rent man­age­ment is de­valu­ing the brand with too many new items

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