Shakeup at Superdry turns sour
Stylish designer: Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton with wife Jade Holland Cooper
Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton saw his stake in the company plummet by £7m in three months, far more money than he ever made in salary and bonuses as the company’s chief executive.
Dunkerton, 58, owns more than a quarter of the Japanese-inspired retailer, which not long ago was one of the biggest names on the high street.
At its peak, the company was valued at £1.6bn and footballer David Beckham and actor Idris Elba flaunted their jackets.
But Superdry has struggled in recent years and the once mighty company is now worth just £55m.
In delayed results released on Friday, Dunkerton admitted it had been another “difficult” 12 months for the business. The company suffered a £148 million loss and saw its debt skyrocket.
Superdry has been plagued by rumors that it could go private and that its future is in doubt.
The last time Dunkerton bought shares in the company at the end of May, its stake in the group was worth around £21.5m. At the time, the company’s share sale raised £11 million to bolster its balance sheet.
But shares have plunged over the summer, wiping out £7 million of his stake when his shares were temporarily suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange at the company’s request.
This drop is more than the £4.7m he earned during the 11 years he was chief executive of Superdry, which he co-founded in 2003 with James Holder.
Dunkerton, who married designer Jade Holland Cooper in 2018, led Superdry until its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2010 and was chief executive until 2015.
He remained on the board before leaving the company in 2018, only to return a year later when he engineered a board liquidation and return as chief executive after being dismayed by its performance.
Dunkerton vowed to spend his second term as chief executive reshaping Superdry’s design strategy to focus more on the hoodies and jackets that made the company famous.
A source close to the company said: “Julian is a passionate believer in the brand and that is why he financed the capital increase and has continued to buy shares in the company.
“It’s clearly been a very difficult time, but the balance issues have now been ironed out and Julian is incredibly positive about the new product coming out.”