Tyra is the new CEO of Canadian apparel manufacturer Gildan effective 15 January after the board pulled up his initial start date of 12 February “to respond to requests to engage early with key stakeholders and bring needed stability and leadership to the company as it embarks on its next chapter of success.”

“When the board began the external phase of the CEO search back in May of 2023, we knew that scaling the company in an increasingly complex and competitive environment demanded a hands-on CEO with fresh ideas, deep apparel experience, a keen understanding of manufacturing and expertise in areas like marketing, merchandising and product development. After a robust selection process that evaluated both internal and external candidates, we selected Vince as the next chief executive of Gildan Activewear,” said Donald C. Berg, chairman of the board.

In its announcement, Gildan insists Tyra has the right attributes for the CEO role having demonstrated his leadership skills “across such an impressive range of industries and managerial challenges”. While the experiences vary, it says the throughline of his career uses his financial acumen, sound management and ability to build teams and motivate people around a shared strategy and vision to improve the companies and organisations he has led.

Following Tyra’s role at Fruit of the Loom, Bain Capital hired him as CEO of Broder Bros, an apparel distributor, before introducing him to Southfield Capital, where he went on to a career in private equity.

Yoo Jin Kim was a principal at Bain Capital when Tyra was CEO of then-Bain-owned Broder Bros. Kim later introduced Tyra to the founder of Southfield Capital.

Kim said: “With almost 30 years of private equity investing experience, I have worked with countless CEOs in multiple industries. Vince was in the top-tier of those executives given his leadership strengths, ability to build strong teams and culture, financial performance, acquisition experience, and solid character…Gildan is very fortunate to have Vince as its next leader. I have tremendous confidence in the company’s future under his stewardship.”

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Gildan continued with statements attesting Tyra’s competence from others.

But the move has sparked backlash from Browning West, one of the major shareholders that called for Gildan to reconsider it’s appointment of Tyra.

Browning West told Just Style: “It is clear to us – and presumably our fellow shareholders – that Gildan’s Board is trying to use Vince Tyra’s accelerated start date to defy shareholders who have clearly rejected Mr. Tyra and to shift attention away from our requestioned Special Meeting.

“However, the Board cannot run from the fact that holders of 35% of the company’s outstanding shares publicly support meaningful boardroom change and the reinstatement of Glenn Chamandy. We intend to keep the focus on the Board, which bears responsibility for the disruptions, reputational harm and value destruction that has ensued following its irresponsible termination of Mr. Chamandy.”

Earlier, Browning West for the replacement of the majority of Gildan’s board of directors.

The move is the latest step in an ongoing dispute between Gildan’s board of directors and several company shareholders that has emerged since previous CEO Glenn Chamandy left the company in December 2023.

In an open letter to all shareholders, Browning West said it requests the board change as it believes the current Gildan directors are “entirely unresponsive to shareholder demands”.

Browning West told Just Style a total of nine shareholders have come out calling for Chamandy to be reinstated – representing 35% of Gildan’s outstanding shares including Turtle Creek Asset Management; Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd; Cooke & Bieler LP
• Pzena Investment Management, LLC; Janus Henderson; Anson Funds Management LP and Anson Advisors Inc.; Oakcliff Capital; Cardinal Capital Management

Of these shareholders, five – Jarislowsky Fraser, Turtle Creek, Oakcliff Capital, Anson Funds and Cardinal Capital – have backed Browning West’s five nominees, while four shareholders, Jarislowsky Fraser, Janus Henderson, Anson Funds and Cooke & Bieler are backing Browning’s expanded slate.

Their view is that Tyra’s appointment is “hasty, inexplicable and value-destructive”.