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