Superdry has set the date for a general meeting at which co-founder Julian Dunkerton will ask shareholders to re-elect him and current Boohoo chair Peter Williams as non-executive directors.
The business will hold the meeting on Tuesday, April 2 and has advised its shareholders to vote against the resolutions.
It stated that institutional shareholders had voiced strong support for its current strategy and management team and that none had indicated to the board any support for Dunkerton’s return.
It has also advised shareholders that Dunkerton’s return would be “extremely damaging to the company and its prospects” as it would “lead to a strategy that would fail”.
Dunkerton called on Superdry to hold a general meeting at the beginning of this month in a bid to convince shareholders to appoint him and Williams to the board following several profit warnings at the former City darling.
Dunkerton has been a vocal critic of Superdry management since he left the business earlier this year, and still holds a 19% stake in the business. He has also set up a website, savesuperdry.com, which seeks to rally support.
Superdry management today reiterated their “wholehearted commitment to delivery of current strategy”, which they said had “already yielded significant operational and strategic progress”.
It added that Dunkerton “had prime executive responsibility for the design direction, range selection and range build of the Autumn/Winter 2018 range, which contributed to the company’s underperformance, and which was representative of underlying issues in the approach to product and innovation.
“Mr Dunkerton has failed to accept any responsibility for the Autumn/Winter 2018 range, even going as far as to claim that he had no involvement despite extensive and detailed evidence to the contrary… [his] return would have damaging business impacts [and] would lead to a strategy that would fail.”
It also said his return would damage Superdry’s culture, saying that he would “reintroduce a leadership style that does not fit within the open-minded collaborative culture, values and operation of the company; lead to dysfunctional relationships with the board and management; and damage morale across the business and cause departures of key personnel, including from within the board”.
Management also charged Dunkerton with a lack of transparency over the resolutions, saying he was asking to be reappointed as a non-executive director, which would require a 50% approval by shareholders, but that he had confirmed to the board that he wants an executive role responsible for product, brand and marketing, which would require approval of at least 75% of shareholders.