01:01 GMT +326 March 2019
Listen Live
    Shoppers walk past a Ted Baker store on Regents Street in London

    Ted Baker CEO Ray Kelvin Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment, Forced Hugging Claims

    © REUTERS / Simon Dawson
    Europe
    Get short URL
    0 0 0

    Mr. Kelvin founded the fashion chain in 1988, which has grown into 500 outlets across the UK and overseas. Whilst Mr. Kelvin denies the allegations, he stepped down on Monday to allow acting CEO Lindsay Dennis Page to guide the company.

    Ray Kelvin, Founder and CEO of fashion franchise Ted Baker, resigned on Monday "with immediate effect" due to allegations from employees of "forced hugging", a press statement on Monday said.

    Mr. Kelvin took a voluntary leave of absence in December following the accusations, with Mr. Page stepping in as acting CEO. David Bernstein has stepped in as acting company executive chairman until 30 November, where a successor will be appointed. 

    Mr. Kelvin said in statement: "Difficult though this decision is, given that Ted Baker has been my life and soul for over 30 years, I've decided that the right thing to do is to step away from Ted and allow the business to focus on being the outstanding brand it is so it can face 2019 with fresh energy and renewed spirit." 

    He would continue to support Mr. Page and offer his advice to the new team, Mr. Kelvin added. 

    Mr. Kelvin added: "I'm extremely proud of what we've achieved in building Ted Baker to the global brand it is today. Thank you to every single colleague, customer, supplier, and investor for your commitment to the business. We couldn't have done it without you and I'm so grateful." 

    He called the past few months "deeply distressing" and would take his time before considering his "next adventure" adding that Ted Baker had been his "life and soul" during his time as CEO. 

    Mr. Kelvin owns 35 percent of company shares, but has declined severance pay, in addition to bonus payments earned over the last three years.  

    What Happened in December? 

    Workplace online platform Organise launched the petition in December, which said that over 200 Ted Baker staff had offered their statements, including "50 recorded incidences of harassment". 

    Mr. Kelvin offered unwelcome embraces and asked young female staff to sit on his knee, cuddle or let him massage their ears, one of the petition's creators told the Sunday Times in December. 

    He was also accused of "stroking people's necks" and taking off his shirt and talking about "his sex life" to employees, as well as "making sexual innuendos at staff", the petition's creator added. 

    The company later appointed Herbert Smith Freehills LLP to conduct an investigate following the campaign's publication in the Sunday Times. 

    Ted Baker and Organise Comments

    Mr. Bernstein said in a statement: "Ray Kelvin founded the business 32 years ago and has, together with the fantastic team around him, been the driving force behind it becoming the global brand it is today."

    But Mr. Bernstein said that in light of the allegations, "Ray has decided that it is in the best interests of the company for him to resign so that the business can move forward under new leadership". 

    The Board of Directors was committed to "ensuring that all employees feel respected and valued," Mr. Bernstein said, adding that all directors were "determined to learn lessons" from the accusations. 

    Nat Whalley, Executive Director of Organise, the platform used by Ted Baker employees, said in a press release that Mr. Kelvin's resignation "shows the power of staff teaming up to create positive change at work."  

    "No CEO should preside over a culture of ‘forced hugging', Mr Whalley said. "The new CEO should create a culture which ensures that all staff feel safe and listened to when it comes to allegations of harassment in the workplace." 

    "The staff who used Organise to run and win this anti-harassment campaign should be really proud." 

    Related:

    Unisex Toilets Put Schoolgirls at Risk of 'Sexual Harassment' - Woman's Charity
    Kylie Minogue Stalker Drama: Singer Calls Police Over Harassment - Reports
    Scotland Police Arrest Ex-First Minister Alex Salmond Over Sexual Harassment
    US Judge Dismisses Ashley Judd’s Harassment Claim Against Weinstein
    Tags:
    sexual harassment, fashion industry, accusations, fashion, Twitter, retail, resignation, Ted Baker, Ray Kelvin, United Kingdom
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik