Ted Baker founder, CEO Ray Kelvin quits amid 'forced hugging' row

Ted Baker

Ted Baker

Ray Kelvin, founder and chief executive of British fashion retailer Ted Baker Plc, resigned on Monday following misconduct allegations related to his hugging of business colleagues.

Kelvin denies all claims that he acted inappropriately toward employees.

Employees said Kelvin made "sexual innuendos at staff", stroked people's necks, took off his shirt and openly talked about his sex life.

Since that date an internal Independent Committee has been in the process of looking into the claims and has commissioned the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (HSF) to investigate further.

In addition to customers, the petition includes the signatures of several hundred former and current Ted Baker employees, according to British media reports.

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The petition, on the workplace website Organise, said that more than 200 Ted Baker staff were finally breaking their silence after at least "50 recorded incidents of harassment" at the fashion group.

Ted Baker's chief executive and founder, Ray Kelvin, has resigned with immediate effect following allegations of harassment.

Executive chairman David Bernstein said: "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. However, in light of the allegations made against him, 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". In addition to Kelvin stepping down, the company said it would specifically work to improve a company culture tainted by the allegations against him. Shares fell four per cent on the news in early morning trading, before they rallied to one per cent above Monday's opening price.

Lindsay Page, who has served as the company's acting chief executive, will continue to lead the company. Coombs said. "Is this going to cause a loss of stock value?" An investigation looked into broader allegations, including inappropriate comments and texts, as well as unwanted kissing and groping.

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