CEO of crisis-management PR firm resigns following allegations he got drunk and inappropriately touched women at a charity event

Declan Kelly Teneo
Declan Kelly resigned on Tuesday. Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen
  • Declan Kelly, CEO of PR firm Teneo, resigned on Tuesday.
  • His resignation follows allegations of drunken misconduct and inappropriate touching at a charity concert hosted by Global Citizen.
  • He will be replaced by the firm’s chief operating officer, Paul Keary.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Declan Kelly, the CEO of influential crisis-communications firm Teneo, said on Tuesday that he would step down as chairman and chief executive.

He will be replaced by the firm’s chief operating officer, Paul Keary, the board said in a statement.

The resignation of Teneo’s CEO is the second major leadership departure for the PR firm in the last year. Doug Band, Teneo’s founding partner and former advisor to Bill Clinton, quit following an interview with Vanity Fair called “Confessions of a Clintonworld Exile” that elaborated on Band and the former president’s falling out.

Kelly’s departure follows reports that he behaved inappropriately at a charity concert hosted by Global Citizen, a nonprofit where Kelly was formerly a boardmember.

The Financial Times reported last week that Kelly was drunk at the event and inappropriately touched women without their consent.

“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,” a spokesperson for Kelly said in a statement to The Financial Times.

Following the report, General Motors, a high-profile client of Teneo, severed ties with the PR firm.

Teneo’s clients include Fortune 500 companies and top executives. Throughout his career, Declan Kelly has consulted for Coca-Cola and Dell.

In 2019, Teneo sold a majority stake to CVC Capital Partners in a deal that reportedly valued the PR firm at over $700 million.

Kelly issued a personal statement announcing his resignation on Tuesday.

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

This is a developing story…