Influential shareholder advisory firm ISS has recommended Superdry investors vote against co-founder and former chief executive Julian Dunkerton’s reinstatement to the board.
ISS also urged shareholders to oppose the appointment of Dunkerton’s ally and Boohoo chairman Peter Williams to the board at a meeting on 2 April.
The note to shareholders said ISS believed the issues facing Superdry have been caused in part by the decision-making of Dunkerton and other management figures.
“A vote against the election of both shareholder nominees to the board is considered warranted at this time,” ISS said.
“The company’s performance has been dragged down by sector issues and warm weather in 2018, though there are other issues that would appear particular to Superdry (e.g. online sales and innovation).
“The current issues, however, seem to have at least partially arisen as a result of combined decision making by the management and Julian Dunkerton – one of the dissidents calling the EGM and also the co-founder and chief executive of the company previously.”
Dunkerton, who left the firm in March last year, wrote to shareholders last week to urge them to back his readmission to the board as he outlined plans to “supercharge” the company.
The fashion retailer’s founder said he would return the company to revenue growth, restore double-digit earnings margins and rebuild profitability within three years.
However, Superdry reiterated its call for shareholders to oppose Dunkerton’s motion, saying his return would be “extremely damaging to the company and its prospects.