Fashion retailer Ted Baker has launched an investigation into harassment allegations against its founder and CEO Ray Kelvin, after reports claimed he hugged workers and kissed their necks and ears.
The group has appointed independent law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to conduct an independent external investigation into the reports it received. Investigators will report to a committee of the company’s non-executive directors, which will be chaired by director Sharon Baylay.
In response to the allegations the group issued a statement which read: “Kelvin, and the company’s leadership, have always prided themselves on Ted Baker being a great employer and business to work with. Accordingly, they and the board take these concerns very seriously and the board has directed a thorough and urgent independent external investigation is carried out into these matters.”
The announcement follows a 0.2% (0.4% in constant currency) decrease in group revenue for the 16-week period to 1 December 2018, compared with the same period last year. The group said the results reflected the anticipated decline in wholesale sales due to the timing of deliveries, largely offset by the retail sales performance.
In the same the statement announcing the investigation, quotes attributed to Kelvin also said: “We are pleased with the brand’s continued expansion, which is a reflection of the strength of the Ted Baker brand and the design and quality of our collections. The investment in our flexible business model ensures that the Ted customer has multiple channels to engage with the brand and underpins our long term development.
“Our global e-commerce business continues to grow well and is complemented by our digital marketing strategy and unique stores that showcase the brand.”