Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton is poised to return to the business following an EGM showdown with the board today.
Proxy votes were 50.7% in Dunkerton’s favour. The full vote is yet to be finalised but the result is not expected to change, chair Peter Bamford has told the meeting.
In recent weeks, institutional investors including Schroders, Investec Asset Management and Aberdeen Standard Investments indicated their support for Dunkerton, while proxy advisers ISS and Glass Lewis recommended backing Superdry’s management.
Dunkerton has campaigned to return alongside former Boohoo chair and Selfridges chief executive Peter Williams as independent non-executive director. Williams was also elected to the board in the proxy vote.
Dunkerton has been a vocal critic of Superdry’s management since he left the business in March 2018. He has said that heavy discounting and poor product decisions have been responsible for two profit warnings issued since he left and for wiping out £1.2bn of shareholder value.
Dunkerton, with co-founder James Holder, owns 29% of Superdry. He has been agitating to return to the business since late last year and requisitioned the general meeting to try and persuade investors to vote for his return to the board.
Superdry has maintained that Dunkerton is partially responsible for the business’ woes and has “failed to accept any responsibility”.
Members of the Superdry board had threatened to resign if Dunkerton returned.
Dunkerton said: “Our interests as major shareholders are fully aligned with [other shareholders] and, together, we can set Superdry back on the path to growth and success. We have a wonderful opportunity to take this brand and this business to the next, exciting phase of its growth and development. I can’t wait to get started and to work with the directors, the talented staff and our partners to deliver the future of Superdry. The hard work starts now.
“I am particularly pleased to be rejoining the Superdry board alongside Peter Williams, one of the most impressive and experienced individuals in the retail fashion industry. I know that Peter will bring crucial expertise and insight to the board, as well as good governance and a mandate to look after the interests of all shareholders.”
The final results of the vote are expected shortly.