Superdry PLC (LON:SDRY) has announced another management shake-up that will see founder Julian Dunkerton become the fashion firm's permanent chief executive, while chairman Peter Williams is leaving next year.
Having started the company in 2003 with James Holder, Dunkerton was chief executive until 2014 when he had to relinquish the position to Euan Sutherland.
Dunkerton’s departure, which saw him walk away from the board in 2018, was blamed on a “fundamental disagreement” about design and expansion strategy.
However, he forced his way back last year and became interim boss, a role he was meant to hold until April 2021 while the board looked for a successor. He is also the firm’s largest shareholder with a 20.3% stake.
Meanwhile, chairman Williams announced his departure next year after completing the executive team reshuffle, as he said “2021 is an appropriate time for me to step down”.
He joined the clothier in April 2019, supporting Dunkerton's return, the company pointed out.
The faux-Japanese fashion designer also announced the appointment of Silvana Bonello, a Nike and Vans veteran, as chief operating officer.
“With Silvana joining the executive team, we now have the right operational leadership to steer the business through these most uncertain times and drive the brand reset as we seek to inspire our customers with design-led, sustainable product and engage with them through our digital channels,” Dunkerton said in a statement.
Analysts at Liberum said the new moves should provide long-term confidence and provide greater structure going forward.
"The exiting chairman and Julian Dunkerton have more than just stabilised the business but transformed the group rather rapidly in markets that have been less than helpful to say the least," they commented.
"Now the focus is firmly on the future and this has created an opportunity to bring fresh skills and experience to the top team. The strategy is well advanced with digital, brand and sustainability at the core."
"Today’s announcement will no doubt be supported by further developments over the course of the next few months that should only serve to highlight that Superdry is now making bold decisions to drive the right kind of growth in a digital age," the broker concluded.
Shares rose 7% to 256p on Wednesday morning.
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