The CEO of a $1.1 billion British fashion brand resigned after allegations he demanded compulsory hugs and asked female staffers to sit on his knee

GettyFounder and CEO of Ted Baker, Ray Kelvin attends a Ted Baker event on September 22, 2016 in New York City. kelvin is famous for hiding his face in photos.
  • The CEO of $US1.1 billion British menswear brand Ted Baker has resigned, after a staff petition accused him of misconduct.
  • Ray Kelvin demanded compulsory hugs, asked young female staff to massage their ears, and asked them to sit on his knee, the petition said.
  • “The owner regularly makes sexual innuendos at staff, he stroke people’s necks, he took off his shirt on one occasion and talked about his sex life,” the petition said.
  • Kelvin went on voluntary leave in December 2018 after the petition made headlines, but has denied the claims throughout.

The CEO of a British fashion brand worth $US1.1 billion has resigned after staff at his company claimed he demanded hugs from female employees, asked to massage their ears and for them to sit on his knee.

Ted Baker CEO Ray Kelvin took a voluntary leave of absence in December 2018, after staff at his clothing company accused him of personal misconduct. On Monday, he announced that his departure was permanent.

Kelvin has consistently denied the allegations. In his statement he said he was leaving to “allow the business to focus on being the outstanding brand it is.”

He continues to hold a 35% stake in Ted Baker, according to the Guardian. As of Monday, Ted Baker has a market capitalisation of around $US1.1 billion (£843 million) which would give Kelvin’s stake a value of $US385 million (£292 million.)

In early December, Kelvin was the subject of a petition launched by staff at the brand, which said it wanted to raise awareness of the forced “hugging” culture at Ted Baker, championed by the 63-year-old CEO.

Ted baker london storeGettyA branch of Ted Baker stands on Regent Street on December 06, 2018 in London, England.

The petition said there were “50 recorded incidents of harassment” across Ted Baker’s 500 stores, including times when “the CEO ask[ed] young female members of staff to sit on his knee, cuddle him, or let him massage their ears.”

“The owner regularly makes sexual innuendos at staff, he stroke people’s necks, he took off his shirt on one occasion and talked about his sex life,” the petition said.


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Ray kelvinGettyLady Mary Parkinson (left,) Founder and CEO of Ted Baker Ray Kelvin (middle,) and Sir Michael Parkinson (right) attend a book launch on November 12, 2018.

The author of the petition said: “I went to HR with a complaint and was told “that’s just what Ray’s like”.”

Kelvin was handed a formal warning by Ted Baker’s board at an unknown date after he shoved a senior executive against a wall when he learnt he was not invited to the colleague’s wedding, according to the Guardian.

Kelvin denies the allegations laid out in the petition.

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