After Gildan Activewear Inc.’s entire board of directors and Chief Executive Officer quit last week, BNN Bloomberg spoke with Glenn Chamandy, the clothing company’s reappointed CEO and president, to discuss the six-month feud with an activist investor and the future of Gildan under his reinstated leadership.

Chamandy, whose grandfather founded Gildan, was ousted from the top job last year, amidst accusations that he was unfit to run the Montreal-based clothing company. 

“After about 40 years of building a good legacy, a dynasty like Gildan, it was very difficult,” Chamandy told BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday. “I would say I was quite saddened by the way the board handled the situation. It was tough on me personally. It was tough on my family. I think it was difficult for employees in the company. And I think it was exhausting for shareholders.” 

Gildan, an owner of the American Apparel brand, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of affordable T-shirts, and has become a US$6 billion company through a strategy of manufacturing in cheap-labour countries and providing to major North American retailers such as Walmart Inc.

In December of 2023, Gildan’s board of directors announced that Chamandy, who helmed the company for nearly 20 years, would be replaced by former Fruit of the Loom Inc. executive Vince Tyra. At the time, the board provided no reasons for the decision, but later claimed that Chamandy threatened to quit unless the company worked towards a major acquisition, a claim Chamandy denied. Gildan’s board also said that the former CEO was distracted and “rarely in the office.” 

The reappointed CEO said he was “blindsided” by the board’s decision, citing “stellar” performance from 2019 to 2023, when the company had “strong topline growth,” and saw “operating margins expand from 15 to 20 per cent.”

Speaking to BNN Bloomberg, Chamandy pointed out that the board accused him of “lacking vision” before presenting a growth strategy he originally envisioned. “I think there’s a little bit of a contradiction there,” he said

“The board did a poor job on the whole execution of the termination of myself and didn’t really get shareholder engagement.”

In May, after Gildan’s board resigned and CEO Vince Tyra stepped down, Browning West reappointed Chamandy as President and CEO, citing a strategy he says will double the clothing maker’s profits by 2028.

“Now we’re turning the page and I’m very excited about the future of Gildan. I’m excited about our new board, and the quality of the board we have been able to put together, and the ability for us to continue enhancing and delivering shareholder returns in the future.” 

Chamandy told BNN Bloomberg he is “100 per cent engaged.”

With filed by BNN Bloomberg’s Sydney Punchard