London: Ted Baker Plc chief executive officer Ray Kelvin resigned amid an investigation of his conduct, including allegations of behaviour that was demeaning to employees of the UK apparel chain.
Kelvin had taken a voluntary leave of absence from the CEO role in December as the board hired law firm Herbert Smith Freehills Llp to investigate allegations of behaviour including unwanted hugs and asking female employees to sit on his knee.
He has denied the accusations.
Acting CEO Lindsay Page will continue in the role. Chairman David Bernstein will “provide additional support" as executive chairman, the company said, but will leave that role by 30 November 2020.
Kelvin owns about 35% of London-based Ted Baker, and his holding has a market value of about £295 million ($390 million). The fashion chain’s shares plunged last week after it said profit for the year was hurt by adverse currency movements and other factors. The warning stemmed from a new set of problems, unexpected product costs and an inventory writedown.
Complaints about Kelvin’s conduct originally surfaced in an online petition on the website Organise. In another alleged incident, the CEO pushed an employee against a wall in a glass meeting room in 2016 while dozens of staffers looked on, according to three people who were there and asked not to be named, Bloomberg reported in December.
The law firm’s investigation continues and is expected to conclude at the end of the first quarter or early in the second quarter, Ted Baker said.