Declan Kelly cites ‘campaign against firm’ as he resigns from Teneo

Tipperary executive steps down after details emerge of drunken conduct at party in May

Declan Kelly: “Over recent days I have received countless messages of support from my colleagues, clients, public figures and people who know me well both personally and professionally.”

Declan Kelly: “Over recent days I have received countless messages of support from my colleagues, clients, public figures and people who know me well both personally and professionally.”

 

Irishman Declan Kelly has cited a “campaign against the reputation of our firm” following his resignation from strategy firm Teneo on Tuesday in the wake of allegations of drunken misconduct at a party last month.

Mr Kelly, an influential adviser to Fortune 500 executives, last week lost his board seat at the campaign group Global Citizen after details of the matter entered the public domain.

Five people briefed on the matter said Mr Kelly behaved inappropriately at a party on May 2nd linked to the high-profile concert put on by Global Citizen.

It was chaired by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and featured artists including Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez. The event featured messages from public figures including Pope Francis and US president Joe Biden.

Two of these people and one person with direct knowledge claimed that the inappropriate behaviour included the non-consensual touching of a number of women. Teneo said in a statement on Tuesday that Kelly would resign and would be replaced by co-founder and chief operating officer Paul Keary “effective immediately”.

Reputation of firm

In a statement on the company’s website, Mr Kelly said there had been “a campaign” against the reputation of the firm that “may continue” in the coming days.

“On May 2nd I made an inadvertent, public and embarrassing mistake for which I took full responsibility and apologised to those directly affected, as well as my colleagues and clients,” he said.

“A campaign against the reputation of our firm has followed and may even continue in the coming days. However, regardless of the veracity of any such matters I do not want them to be an ongoing distraction to the running of our company.

“In order to protect the employees of Teneo and its clients, and with my family’s strong support, I have decided to leave the company and resign as chairman and CEO.”

Mr Kelly, who is a brother of Labour Party leader Alan Kelly, said Teneo “will remain the best in the world at what it does, a firm whose success has been driven by three virtues – hard work, decency and compassion”.

“Over recent days I have received countless messages of support from my colleagues, clients, public figures and people who know me well both personally and professionally,” he continued.

“Their support and trust is what counts the most. I will be forever grateful to them all. I want to thank our hundreds of clients around the world for their support of our business and their loyalty to our people.

“You are the reason Teneo exists. And to my 1,250 colleagues worldwide, I will continue to be your biggest supporter.”

Replacement CEO

In the company statement, the Teneo board of directors said it “regrets to announce that Declan Kelly has advised it of his decision to resign from his role as the company’s chairman and CEO”.

“Teneo co-founder and chief operating officer Paul Keary has been appointed CEO, effective immediately. The board believes strongly in Teneo’s unique CEO advisory model, global reach and ability to deliver differentiated value to our clients.

“We are confident that under Paul, and the leadership team, Teneo will continue on its successful path of growth, delivering unique value to clients across its diverse business segments.”

“Thanks to Declan’s leadership, and the efforts of its excellent management team, Teneo today serves the world’s leading companies with a deep bench of experienced advisers across a number of disciplines,” the board added.

“With 1,250 employees in 33 offices around the world, he is leaving the company in a strong position for continued success.”

In a statement last week after details of the allegations emerged, a spokesman for Mr Kelly said he became inebriated at the event.

“At a large cocktail party that evening attended by dozens of people including Global Citizen board members and guests, Mr Kelly became inebriated and behaved inappropriately towards some women and men at the event,” he said.

The spokesman added that Mr Kelly “deeply regrets his actions” and had apologised to those he had offended. His spokesman said he had “temporarily reduced his work responsibilities”, was “committed to sobriety”, and was “undertaking ongoing counselling”.

Mr Kelly, a native of Portroe in Tipperary, began his career as a reporter with the Nenagh Guardian, before entering public relations in Dublin and later in the US.