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UPDATE 1-SuperGroup operations chief abruptly leaves
February 12, 2015 / 9:37 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-SuperGroup operations chief abruptly leaves

(Adds detail, spokesman, analyst comment, shares)

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - SuperGroup, the British firm behind the Superdry fashion brand, is parting company with its chief operating officer four months after it recruited the former boss of the Co-op to be its new chief executive.

The firm said in a statement on Thursday that Susanne Given, who joined SuperGroup in 2012, had stepped down from the board as a director with immediate effect and would leave the business “in order to explore other opportunities.”

Shares in SuperGroup, whose trademark jackets, hooded tops, check shirts and jogging bottoms are popular with twentysomethings, fell up to 2.8 percent in early trading.

SuperGroup said the responsibilities of Given, who was well regarded by analysts, would be absorbed by the executive team with the heads of UK retail, IT and logistics reporting directly to CEO Euan Sutherland.

Sutherland joined as CEO in October, replacing Julian Dunkerton who founded the company on a market stall 30 years ago.

Sutherland had quit as boss of the embattled Co-op group in March after just 10 months in the role, describing the business as an “ungovernable” organisation.

“It looks as if she (Given) has fallen victim to internal politics, in the wake of Euan Sutherland’s recent arrival as CEO,” said independent retail analyst Nick Bubb.

A spokesman for SuperGroup said Given’s departure was a mutual decision and denied there had been any row. He said Given would leave the company’s employ in the summer and would not get a payoff.

Analysts, however, noted the absence of a line from Given in SuperGroup’s statement.

SuperGroup shares reversed the early losses to be up 0.7 percent at 1,065 pence at 0919 GMT, valuing the business at 852 million pounds ($1.30 billion). The stock is down a third over the last year.

$1 = 0.6556 pounds Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kate Holton and Mark Potter

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