February 29th, 2024

Vince Tyra to become Gildan CEO after Glenn Chamandy says he was terminated

By Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press on December 11, 2023.

Gildan Activewear Inc. says it has named Vince Tyra as its next chief executive, replacing Glenn Chamandy in the top job. The Gildan Activewear logo is shown in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Gildan

After 40 years with Gildan Activewear Inc. and nearly 20 as president and chief executive, Glenn Chamandy said he’s been terminated without cause.

The Montreal-based apparel company co-founded by Chamandy and his brother Greg announced Monday that outsider Vince Tyra would take on the roles of president and chief executive.

The company did not release reasons for Chamandy’s exit, saying only that he has “left his position” and “has been a forerunner in our industry, taking Gildan from a small family-owned business to a leading apparel company with over US$3 billion in revenues.”

However, a separate statement from Chamandy said, “it is unfortunate that my vision of the path forward has differed from that of other board members.”

He did not reveal how his vision was different from that of board members of the company best known for selling products like T-shirts, which companies, sports leagues and shoppers customize with their own logos or creations.

RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Sabahat Khan said he had spoken to Tyra, as well as the company’s board chair, chief financial officer and head of investor relations Monday morning.

Khan said he was told the board had been focused on succession planning “for some time” and considered internal and external candidates to replace Chamandy.

“The driver behind today’s announcement (which the investment community is likely to consider a bit of a surprise) was somewhat of a disagreement with Mr. Chamandy on the timing of the transition,” Khan wrote in a note to investors.

He added the company’s leaders told him the decision to appoint Tyra is “not reflective of any financial concerns.”

The change in leadership spurred a drop of almost 10 per cent or $5 in Gildan’s stock price, bringing it to $44.70 in early afternoon trading.

Tyra is a former chief executive of clothing company Alphabroder and was president of Fruit of the Loom before it was sold to Berkshire Hathaway.

He was also director of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Louisville.

Tyra’s industry leadership experience as well as his roles at companies that could be end users of Gildan’s products like sports and collegiate businesses “should position him well,” Khan said.

Tyra is due to begin with Gildan on Feb. 12. Craig Leavitt, a Gildan director since 2018, will serve as interim chief executive until Tyra is in place.

This will mark a new chapter for Gildan, which has a history stretching back to 1946, when Glenn Chamandy’s grandfather, Joseph Chamandy, started Harley Inc., a manufacturing company that produced activewear, children’s apparel and sleepwear.

In 1982, Greg and Glenn Chamandy took over the company’s leadership. Two years later, it became a vertically integrated manufacturing company with the acquisition of a knitting mill. The knitting manufacturing business was called Gildan Textiles Inc., combining the names of two salesmen.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GIL)

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