For fashion to fit Euan Sutherland, he must prove he’s not a quitter


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The Independent Online

Outlook Fashion is a fickle business. So perhaps Euan Sutherland, the former Co-op boss just named as SuperGroup’s new chief executive, has finally found a job to suit him.

This is the man, lest we forget, who stormed out of the Co-op after 10 months because he didn’t like his £3.6m pay package being leaked.

Jumping early was nothing new. At the age of just 45, he was already on his eighth major company, having previously joined and left senior positions at Boots, Mars, Coca-Cola, DSGi, Matalan, Superdrug and Kingfisher. Now, running the Superdry fashion label, he will be on his 10th big corporate job.

He did good work in his short time at the Coop, attempting to put a chaotic organisation into something beginning to resemble a working business. But his decision to cut and run was unsavoury. Did he not realise that he was joining a leaky, “dysfunctional” as he called it, 20-strong board when he accepted the huge pay deal that came with the job?

To be fair to him, he did stick out his post running Kingfisher’s B&Q for five years, only leaving when his chief executive Ian Cheshire decided to stick around for a bit longer. Mr Sutherland should take note of Mr Cheshire’s resilience: he’s only now retiring after seven years in post.

SuperGroup has had a history of springing unpleasant surprises on investors during its short life. It needs a steady hand at the top for many years if it is to shake off its unstable reputation and join the ranks of the global fashion big boys.

The prize is potentially huge, just like the £11m pay and bonuses Mr Sutherland could receive in the next three years if he sticks the job out. Big opportunities lie ahead, particularly in the US. But they will take long-term effort.

SuperGroup shares fell 5 per cent after his appointment. To win over the doubters, he must show he has staying power.