Ted Baker chief executive and founder Ray Kelvin has taken a voluntary leave of absence after “further serious allegations” around his conduct were brought to light.
These allegations were brought to the attention of an independent committee of non-executive directors created to investigate harassment claims made by multiple anonymous staff members that Kelvin had expected them to hug him and sit on his lap when he would visit stores.
The committee appointed Herbert Smith Freehills LLP to conduct an independent external investigation into the claims.
Kelvin agreed it would be best for the business, and the people who work in it, if he were to take a voluntary leave of absence for the duration of the investigation.
Chief operating officer Lindsay Page has been appointed acting chief executive with immediate effect.
Ted Baker non-executive chairman David Bernstein noted the business remains in a strong position to deliver on its strategy, despite the negative media reports.
The investigation stems from a petition created on website Organise, through which multiple Ted Baker employees made workplace harassment claims about the founder.
“Together our pressure exposed what was happening at the highest level. Now, over 100 anonymised reports of harassment are sat with Ted Baker’s board,” Organise said in a blog post about the matter.
Kelvin told Retail Week that he grew up with such practices, and that it was “good old-fashioned stuff”.
This story first appeared on our sister site Inside Retail Australia.