Superdry founder suffers another setback in comeback bid

Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton has suffered another blow in his bid to return to the fashion chain’s board.

Investor advisory firm PIRC on Wednesday joined Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) in recommending shareholders reject Mr Dunkerton’s attempt to regain a seat at the top table.

It argued that his election, along with that of Boohoo chairman Peter Williams, would erode the level of board independence as Mr Dunkerton is a major shareholder in the firm.

Earlier this month, Mr Dunkerton officially demanded an investor meeting as part of his efforts to stage a comeback, having left the board last year.

He is acting with co-founder James Holder and together the pair own 29% of Superdry.

The duo said on Wednesday that they were disappointed by the latest developments.

Responding to the ISS, the pair said in a statement: “Naturally we are disappointed by the ISS recommendation. However, we acknowledge it is extremely rare for ISS to support shareholders who propose changes in corporate strategies.”

They added: “The strategic and leadership failings at Superdry remain clear and the financial and operational impacts are obvious and profound: we know how to fix these issues. We continue to engage productively with shareholders, and we are hugely encouraged by the positive response to our proposals.”

Julian Dunkerton
Julian Dunkerton

For its part, Superdry has said Mr Dunkerton’s return would be “extremely damaging” to company’s prospects.

It added that his strategy would “fail”, be “divisive” and reintroduce a leadership style that does not fit within the “open-minded collaborative culture, values and operation of the company”.

The shareholder meeting to decide whether to reinstall Mr Dunkerton on the board will take place on April 2, and the board is recommending that investors vote against his return.

Superdry is also advising investors to reject Mr Williams’ appointment.