Ted Baker boss takes leave amid further hugging claims

Ray Kelvin, chief executive and founder of Ted Baker, under investigation

 Ted Baker’s share price has fallen by nearly a quarter in the last few days, as past employees complained of a culture of ‘forced hugging’ led by its chief executive Ray Kelvin. Photograph: Getty Images

Ted Baker’s share price has fallen by nearly a quarter in the last few days, as past employees complained of a culture of ‘forced hugging’ led by its chief executive Ray Kelvin. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The boss of Ted Baker accused of giving unwanted hugs to employees has taken a leave of absence amid claims of further inappropriate behaviour.

The clothing company said on Friday that Ray Kelvin, chief executive and founder of Ted Baker, was under investigation following “further serious allegations” about his conduct. The company’s share price dropped more than 20 per cent this week following the allegations.

On Thursday, Ted Baker appointed law firm Herbert Smith to investigate the claims. The latest announcement said the firm will present its findings to an independent committee of non-executive directors who will “ensure that the views and concerns raised in recent media reports and a petition are recognised and carefully considered and that appropriate responses are taken forward”.

A petition on the website organise.co.uk claimed there had been more than 100 recorded incidents of harassment. These included Mr Kelvin asking female employees to sit on his knee and massaging necks without permission.

Lindsay Page, chief operating officer of Ted Baker, has been appointed acting chief executive with immediate effect. Mr Page has worked for Ted Baker since 1997.

The company said it would not make any further comment until the claims had been investigated.

David Bernstein, non-executive chairman, said: “The board has moved quickly to appoint Herbert Smith Freehills LLP to conduct a thorough and independent external investigation into recent reports regarding the company and its CEO.

“Ted Baker has great people across its global teams as well as a highly experienced operational Board underpinned by the strength and experience of our teams, I am confident that the business remains in a strong position to continue to deliver its long-term growth strategy.” – The Financial Times