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Ted Baker CEO Kelvin resigns as company inquiry continues

Lauretta Roberts
04 March 2019

Ted Baker CEO Ray Kelvin has stood down from his position as an inquiry into alleged harassment of staff and the company's HR procedures continues.

The premium fashion chain announced this morning that Kelvin, who had been on an indefinite leave of absence since December, would not be returning to the business he founded more than 30 years ago.

Kelvin has previously denied allegations of enforced hugging and harassment of staff. However following a petition signed by 200 staff, which was submitted via the Organise platform and which also claimed that complaints to HR had been brushed off, Kelvin decided to step back from the business to allow for an independent inquiry to take place.

Ted Baker subsequently commissioned the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to investigate the allegations and the company's policies, procedures and handling of HR-related complaints.

Following Kelvin's departure acting CEO Lindsay Page is remaining in post and executive chairman David Bernstein has been asked to provide Page with additional support. Bernstein has indicated that he will continue in this position until no later than 30 November 2020, by which time a successor will be appointed.

The investigation will continue, with the primary focus of the remainder of the investigation being on Ted Baker's policies, procedures and handling of complaints, the company said. It is expected that HSF will conclude its investigation at the end of Q1 or early in Q2 2019.

Bernstein said: "Ray Kelvin founded the business 32 years ago and has, together with the fantastic team around him, been the driving force behind it becoming the global brand it is today. As founder and CEO, we are grateful for his tireless energy and vision. However, in light of the allegations made against him, Ray has decided that it is in the best interests of the company for him to resign so that the business can move forward under new leadership.

"As a board of directors, we are committed to ensuring that that all employees feel respected and valued. We are determined to learn lessons from what has happened and from what our employees have told us and to ensure that, while the many positive and unique aspects of Ted's culture are maintained, appropriate changes are made. Sharon Baylay has agreed to act as the designated non-executive director for engagement with the Ted workforce. Led by Lindsay, we are confident that the strong and experienced team we have in place will build the Ted culture and move the business forward."

Kelvin himself said that stepping away is the “right thing to do”. He said: “The past few months have been deeply distressing and I’ll now be taking time privately with my family to consider what my next adventure will be. Bye for now, Ray.”

Last week Ted Baker issued a profits warning saying that pre-tax profits for the financial year ended 26 January 2019 are now expected to be £63m, compared with consensus estimates of £73.8m. The company cited additional costs and foreign exchange movements for the downward adjustment. The warning had prompted some shareholders to urge the company to complete its inquiry at the earliest opportunity.

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