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Julian Dunkerton reclaims Superdry throne after dramatic vote

By Ravender Sembhy and Alys Key, Press Association City Staff
Just over half of the votes cast by shareholders approved Julian Dunkerton's appointment.

Julian Dunkerton is to become chief executive of Superdry after winning a long-running battle to return to the fashion chain’s board in a victory that has triggered a mass exodus of current management.

Following a bitter months-long campaign, Mr Dunkerton emerged victorious following a shareholder vote that saw him scrape over the line with 51.15% of investor backing on Tuesday.

His return sparked a flurry of resignations, with Superdry chairman Peter Bamford and chief executive Euan Sutherland resigning with immediate effect.

The directors had previously said they would resign or not seek re-election if Mr Dunkerton returned to the company.

In their stead, Mr Dunkerton has been appointed interim chief executive, while Boohoo man Peter Williams has been appointed as Superdry’s chairman.

Finance chief Ed Barker and remuneration committee char Penny Hughes also quit the fashion chain.

Mr Williams and Mr Dunkerton said: “We are very pleased to be joining the board of this great British company. We look forward to rebuilding the Superdry brand and the business.”

Mr Dunkerton has been a vocal critic of Superdry’s management for several months, ripping into Mr Sutherland and claiming he has presided over a “catastrophic decline”.

During his war to reclaim a board seat, he was acting with co-founder James Holder and together the pair own 29% of Superdry.

Mr Dunkerton vowed on Tuesday to “set Superdry back on the path to growth and success”.

He said: “We have a wonderful opportunity to take this brand and this business to the next, exciting phase of its growth and development.

“I can’t wait to get started and to work with the directors, the talented staff and our partners to deliver the future of Superdry. The hard work starts now.”

In the build-up to Tuesday’s vote, investor advisory firms PIRC and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) both recommended shareholders vote against the shake-up.

But big City investors including Investec Asset Management, Schroders and Spanish bank BBVA are thought to have voted in favour of Mr Dunkerton.

Dennis Millard, Minnow Powell, Sarah Wood and John Smith have given three-months’ notice under their contracts and will stand down as Superdry directors with effect from July 1.