(Bloomberg) -- Fighting an activist shareholder’s push to oust him, Gildan Activewear Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vince Tyra said he’ll boost the clothing manufacturer’s profit with a credible plan that includes reviving the American Apparel brand and expanding deeper into overseas markets.

Tyra was appointed in December after the board dismissed longtime CEO Glenn Chamandy following a disagreement over Gildan’s direction. Since then, investment manager Browning West LP has led a campaign to replace the majority of the board, dump Tyra and reinstate Chamandy — a plan that shareholders owning about a third of the stock have publicly supported.

On Monday, Tyra made his case for staying. “Our plan, it’s ambitious, it’s realistic and it’s credible,” he said in an interview. “It’s stuff that we are not just creating. We’re working on today.”

Tyra set out several initiatives such as increasing brand awareness and reinvigorating “dormant” American Apparel. The low-cost clothing maker, which dominates in North America’s printwear market, will also look to regain share in certain international markets, such as Germany.

“I’ve done low-cost marketing before, we’re not going to explode the budget,” Tyra said. Social media influencers can deliver a high return for a small stipend during certain events such as the holidays or back-to-school, he said.

Browning West, which is based in Los Angeles and owns about 5% of Gildan, last month released the operating plan it will implement if it wins the proxy fight. It aims to more than double earnings per share and boost the stock, which closed at $35.33 on Monday, to more than $100 by 2028. That strategy relies on cutting costs by expanding production in Bangladesh and increasing share buybacks. 

Tyra’s response is the latest front in a battle for control of the company, but he didn’t share a stock price target, declining to go into that level of detail amid the current “uncomfortable situation.”

The CEO’s plan projects annual growth in earnings per share in the “high-single to low-double digit range.” The company’s projected rate of revenue growth is similar to Browning West’s.

To win employees’ support following an “iconic leader” like Chamandy, Tyra said he’ll manage “through influence, and not control.” Browning West has described his track record as one of “value destruction,” citing his past roles at Fruit of the Loom and elsewhere.  

“I read the false narratives,” Tyra said.

Browning West said Tuesday in a statement that Tyra’s plan “is clearly nothing more than a continuation of the Gildan Sustainable Growth strategy, which Mr. Chamandy launched in 2022.”

Neither Gildan or Browning West’s publicly released plans suggest a merger or acquisition strategy. Bloomberg News has reported that before being fired, Chamandy looked into acquiring two major apparel distributors valued at a total of more than $3 billion. 

Shareholders will vote on May 28 on who should represent them on the board, looking to revive growth at a firm with more than 40,000 employees and $3 billion in sales.

Stifel Financial analyst Martin Landry said Monday in a note to clients that, despite Tyra’s targets appearing more realistic, “today’s exercise will fall short of gaining new shareholder support ahead of the AGM on May 28. Hence, the likelihood of Glenn Chamandy being reinstated appears unchanged, in our view.”

Sale Process

Gildan didn’t provide an update Monday about a strategic review that may lead to a sale, which was launched after receiving an expression of interest from an unnamed potential buyer. Gildan has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc., RBC Capital Markets and Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. for advice in that process. The company had a market capitalization of around $6 billion. 

Browning and other shareholders, including Turtle Creek Asset Management, have opposed the board’s decision to pursue a sale process. 

(Adds Browning West statement in 11th paragraph and analyst comment in 14th paragraph.)

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