This news comes after investment firm Barington Capital Group L.P, which is a shareholder of HanesBrands, sent a letter to the company’s board chairman. Ronal L. Nelson back in August, and called for “immediate and decisive actions to create long-term value for shareholders.”
Barrington’s chairman James Mitarotonda said in the letter: “The company’s poor execution and performance under current leadership has destroyed substantial shareholder value and left the company in a precarious position.”
Mitarotonda advised the clothing company that in order to reverse the “downward spiral” in its stock prices, HanesBrands must prioritise “cash generation and debt reduction, alongside evaluating fresh leadership and board members who can effectively execute these performance-enhancing strategies.”
HanesBrands, which owns Hanes, Champion and Wonderbra, has now welcomed Browne, Chand, and Mehas as independent directors to the board.
The chairman of HanesBrands, Nelson, has stated that the three new members bring valuable experience in retail, consumer brands, and operations. The company aims to improve its performance and pursue key initiatives, including evaluating options for its global Champion business.
In September, HanesBrands underwent a strategic review after its excessive debt burden was linked to its underperformance in the last year.
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In the wake of its comprehensive strategic review, the company began mulling options for its Champion brand, which industry onlookers described as “unsurprising.”
Whilst there was no guarantee at the time that HanesBrands would sell Champion, GlobalData apparel analyst Neil Saunders believed that Champion was one of the easiest labels to sell off and monetise within the company’s brand division.
Nelson affirmed the board’s full support for Steve Bratspies, HanesBrands CEO, and the broader team as they continue to execute the company’s strategic plans.
“We are confident the addition of these directors in combination with our current directors brings together diverse perspectives that will be beneficial as the Company continues to take actions to drive accelerated growth and profitability,” added Nelson.
HanesBrands signs cooperation agreement with Barington
In conjunction with these appointments, HanesBrands entered into a cooperation agreement with Barington Capital Group, L.P. and as part of the agreement, Barington has committed to a customary standstill, voting, and other provisions.
Additionally, Barington will provide advisory services to HanesBrands on various aspects of its business, operations, strategic and financial matters, corporate governance, and board composition.
Mitarotonda, commented on the development, stating: “We believe this newly constituted board is positioned to guide the company forward in pursuing our mutual goal to create value for HanesBrands’ shareholders.”
Three new directors bring robust industry experience
Colin Browne, a 40-year international brand executive covering footwear, apparel, and accessories, previously held the position of chief operating officer (CFO) at Under Armour, board member of Worldly, and co-chairman of the Digital Supply Chain Institute.
His diverse experience also includes managing director of Asia sourcing for V.F. Corporation, roles at Li & Fung USA, Pentland Brands, Wongpaiboon Group, Reebok, and Bally Shoes.
Natasha Chand, the principal at NoBo, is the former CEO of Amazon’s Softlines Private Brands and executive vice president of menswear at Target Australia, is a strategic leader with experience at Levi Strauss & Co. and Fair-Trade USA.
John Mehas, CEO of Vineyard Vines, brings extensive leadership experience to the HanesBrands Board, having successfully managed Victoria’s Secret Lingerie’s turnaround from 2019 to 2021. He has also held positions at Tory Burch, Club Monaco, Ralph Lauren Kids, Gap, and Bloomingdales.
Currently, he serves as a board member of Prior, a travel experience company, and actively supports the Hudson Guild, serving Manhattan’s West Side and Chelsea communities.