January 17, 2024

Former CEO gives Gildan Activewear board a dressing-down

Nicolas van Praet | The Globe and Mail

Former Gildan Activewear Inc. chief executive Glenn Chamandy fired back at the company’s latest accusations concerning his leadership, saying the board is seeking to unfairly harm his reputation and cast aspersions on his performance.

The company on Tuesday took aim at Mr. Chamandy’s leadership, alleging he had become disengaged from his job, and that he had an undisclosed relationship with an unnamed investor that’s now demanding he be rehired.

“It is with regret that I observe the board’s current focus on a strategy seemingly aimed at undermining my reputation and my record through insinuation and distortion of the truth,” Mr. Chamandy said in a statement Wednesday morning.

The board’s latest release “barely warrants a response,” Mr. Chamandy said. “It continues to reflect an approach that is misguided, misleading, and value-destructive, prioritizing the obsession of board members with their own reputations above all else.”


Over the past 10 days, they’ve sharpened their justifications by attacking his day-to-day leadership, saying he’d become distracted by personal pursuits such as the development of a golf course in Barbados. According to Gildan directors, Mr. Chamandy was rarely in the office, held few management meetings and sent on average “no more than a handful” of work e-mails a day.

The board is also probing Mr. Chamandy’s activities around the time he was dismissed, poring through his files and electronic information because of what they’ve called his “questionable behaviour.” Directors say what they’ve uncovered so far underscores the broken trust between the board and the former CEO toward the end of his employment and the need for new leadership.


It’s very rare for the board of directors of a Canadian public company to be so aggressive when faced with activist shareholder campaigns, said François Dauphin, chief executive of Montreal’s Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations. This suggests they’re digging to defend their position.

The very people who launched the attack are now under fire,” Mr. Dauphin said of the dissident shareholders. The latest revelations show that a link clearly existed between Mr. Chamandy and activist shareholders well before his termination. This raises questions about the sharing of privileged information, but also in terms of conflicts of interest.

In his statement Wednesday, Mr. Chamandy declined to address specifics about his ties to investors. He said only: “Over the years, Gildan’s executive team and I dedicated ourselves to fostering relationships with our stakeholders, grounded in confidence and trust. These efforts were instrumental in establishing a company that is not only respected, but also deeply trusted by its shareholders, customers and employees.”

Directors have said they’re unanimous that Mr. Chamandy’s continued employment would have jeopardized the company’s future. Shareholders including U.S. hedge fund Browning West LP and Montreal investment management firm Jarislowsky Fraser say Mr. Chamandy has delivered in spades for investors over the years and want him back.

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