Founder of Britain’s Superdry becomes permanent CEO

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at a Superdry store in London, Britain, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Julian Dunkerton, the founder of British fashion group Superdry (SDRY.L), has become the firm’s permanent chief executive after he won an acrimonious battle for control in April, it said on Monday.

Dunkerton, the group’s biggest shareholder with an 18.5% stake, rejoined the board in April, prompting the existing directors, including chief executive Euan Sutherland, to resign en masse.

Having served as interim CEO since April 2, Dunkerton’s title will now be CEO and his contract will run until April 2021.

Dunkerton’s return followed a string of profit warnings as the retailer struggled to expand beyond its sweatshirts, hoodies and jackets with random Japanese text and as demand fell in its wholesale and ecommerce business.

In July the group reported a pretax loss of 85.4 million pounds for the 2018-19 year. Its shares have fallen 56% over the last year.

Superdry’s board said Dunkerton had agreed to continue in the role, overseeing his strategy to restore the brand to its design-led roots and lead the business back to growth.

“Today’s announcement reflects the board’s unanimous view that he is the right person to lead the business through this initial crucial phase of the turnaround,” it said.

Superdry said the board’s nomination committee will continue the process to find a long-term CEO successor.

Dunkerton said his plan was “seeing early signs of progress” but cautioned “this will take time”.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton

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