Euan Sutherland will focus on internationalisation at SuperGroup, which has denied that COO Susanne Given may feel snubbed by his appointment.
Given, a former John Lewis buying director and TKMaxx managing director, has been credited with stabilising the SuperGroup business over the past two years after a turbulent period where operational issues impacted profits.
Oriel Securities analyst Jonathan Pritchard said: “We fear that Given may be slighted by the appointment: any lack of focus or her departure would not be good news for the group.”
However, founder Julian Dunkerton insisted that Given was still at the business and happy. He said: “Susanne is doing a really important job. We couldn’t extract her from that role.”
Dunkerton has taken on the newly created role of product and brand director to make way for Sutherland, who departed the Co-op in March after a fraught tenure at the top. The mutual was engulfed in scandal as its bank chairman Paul Flowers was found out to be a drug-taker and a £1.5bn blackhole was found in its banking arm.
He resigned in March after details of his £3m a year pay packet was leaked to the press by boardroom assassins. He will be paid £675,000 at SuperGroup and an annual bonus of up to 150% of his salary.
Sutherland, who has been a non-executive director at SuperGroup for the past two years, said internationalisation was his main focus.
“We have the recipe in the next five to 10 years to become a true global brand,” he said. “There’s ambition to go east and west. There’s the opportunity to take it to the Asian market and grow the US market. To do that you need careful management. We’ve got to do really well in every single country and continent.”
Sutherland said that China was “on radar” for its Superdry brand.
He added that his brand experience makes him a good fit for SuperGroup. He has previously worked at Coca-Cola and Mars.
Superdry is increasingly morphing into a brand and has launched product categories such as fragrances, beauty, watches and even pencil cases. Dunkerton has said previously that he wants to emulate global brands like Ralph Lauren.
Dunkerton said: “I’m honoured that Euan has chosen to work for us. Euan must have had offers from around the world at companies much, much larger than ours.”
Sutherland has limited fashion experience, apart from a two year stint at Matalan, but said Dunkerton and design director James Holder’s expertise would help him.
“We’re looking for complementary skills. The last thing we want is people wanting to do the same job,” said Dunkerton.
Dunkerton said his own new role will allow him to expand SuperGroup’s product range.