Superdry co-founder, Julian Dunkerton, has officially demanded a shareholder meeting as part of his efforts to stage a comeback at the business.
The requisition for a general meeting calls for Dunkerton to be appointed as a non-executive director.
It also calls for Peter Williams, chairman of online retailer Boohoo, to be made an independent non-executive director.
Under section 304 of the Companies Act 2006, the board must now call a general meeting of shareholders within 21 days.
Dunkerton is acting with co-founder James Holder. Together the pair own 29% of Superdry.
They have created a website called savesuperdry.com, which has been established to maximise transparency for stakeholders in the campaign to ”save” the company.
Dunkerton and Holder have been trying to engage with the board privately for several months, during which time their proposals to help turn around the company’s poor performance and strategic failings were rebuffed.
Their latest efforts were rejected earlier this week.
Dunkerton said: “All shareholders in Superdry are continuing to suffer as a direct result of the current misguided strategy. We have all waited and suffered long enough: the time to act is now. This is why, having exhausted all other possible avenues for a constructive and consensual solution with the board, we have been left with no other option but to requisition a general meeting to put the question of my return to the board, together with the appointment of Peter Williams, to a shareholder vote.
“We find ourselves at a critical juncture for Superdry. Since I left the board in March 2018, the company and the brand have been devastated through a misguided strategy: the recent Q3 results (issued on 7 February 2019) were very weak, even coming on the back of two profit warnings - issued within 6 weeks of each other; the share price has dropped by over 70% since January 2018; Superdry is the only retailer in its peer group that has reported a decline in online sales in the autumn/winter 2018 season; and its products have been on sale at reduced prices for 48 of the past 52 weeks. Together, we can turn things around and set Superdry back on the path to creative and operational success.”
Williams spent 13 years on the board of Selfridges, during which time he served as both CFO and CEO. He was also previously the senior independent director at Asos.
A Superdry spokeswoman said: “The board of Superdry has had ongoing engagement with Julian Dunkerton and James Holder since Julian decided to leave the Company in March 2018, to ensure their views have been heard and understood. The board has carefully considered their proposals when they have been put forward and has unanimously rejected them as not being in the interests of all shareholders. The board believes that Mr Dunkerton’s views on the strategic direction of the group are directly at odds with the unanimous views of the management team and the board and therefore his return to the business would be counter-productive and highly disruptive. In terms of the appointment of Peter Williams, the board has significant reservations that he could ever be an independent director and represent the interests of all shareholders equally, given the context of his introduction.”