Shake-up turns sour at Superdry
Designer chic: Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of Superdry, with his wife, Jade Holland Cooper
Superdry co-founder Julian Dunkerton saw his stake in the business drop by £7 million in three months – more than the money he had earned in salary and bonuses as the company’s chief executive.
Dunkerton, 58, owns more than a quarter of the Japan-inspired retailer, which until recently was one of the biggest names on the High Street.
At its peak the company was valued at £1.6 billion and its jackets featured footballer David Beckham and actor Idris Elba.
But Superdry has struggled in recent years and the once mighty company is now worth just £55 million.
In results released late on Friday, Dunkerton admitted another “tough” 12 months for the business. The company lost £148 million and was in debt.
Superdry has been plagued by rumors that it may go private and its future is in question.
When Dunkerton last bought stock in the company at the end of May, his stake in the group was worth around £21.5 million. At that time the company’s share sale raised £11 million to strengthen its balance sheet.
But shares fell heavily over the summer, wiping £7 million off his holdings until his stock was temporarily suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange at the company’s request.
The fall follows the £4.7 million he earned during 11 years as chief executive at Superdry, which he founded with James Holder in 2003.
Dunkerton, who married designer Jade Holland Cooper in 2018, led Superdry through a London Stock Exchange listing in 2010 and was chief executive until 2015.
He remained on the board before leaving the firm in 2018 – only to return a year later as chief executive after he cleared the board and was disappointed with the company’s performance.
In his second term as chief executive, Dunkerton promised to refine Superdry’s design strategy with a greater focus on the hoodies and jackets that made the company famous.
A source close to the business said: ‘Julian believes passionately in the brand, which is why he turned down the equity increase and continues to buy shares in the company.
‘Clearly it has been a very challenging time, but the balance sheet issues have now been addressed and Julian is incredibly positive about the new product to come.’