Enigmatic founder, CEO and director of Ted Baker, Ray Kelvin, has quit after allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards employees at the high street fashion brand.
After taking a voluntary leave of absence in December amid allegations of misconduct, the claims were investigated by an internal independent committee commissioned by law firm Herbert Smith Freeholds, which also looked into the company’s policies, procedures and handling of HR-related complaints.
Kelvin has denied all allegations of inappropriate behaviour, which include a regime of ‘forced hugs’ and requests for young members of staff to sit on his knee, cuddle him or let him massage their ears. In December last year, Ted Baker employees launched an online petition accusing him of inappropriate comments and behaviour, and said that more than 200 members of staff were breaking their silence after at least “50 recorded incidents of harassment” at the company.
His resignation as the brand’s chief executive and director will have immediate effect, and acting chief executive Lindsay Page will continue in the role. Kelvin, who owns nearly 35% of the business, will not receive any salary or benefits following his resignation and his 2016, 2017 and 2018 bonus share awards will lapse. The company said the investigation is expected to wrap up later this month or early April.
In a statement from Kelvin, he said the company had been his “life and soul” but “the right thing to do is to step away from Ted.”