Advertise with

 Ray Kelvin is accused of enforcing a ‘hugging’ culture, massaging employees, kissing their ears and asking some to sit on his lap.
Ray Kelvin is accused of enforcing a ‘hugging’ culture, massaging employees, kissing their ears and asking some to sit on his lap.

Founder of Ted Baker fashion house quits over harassment claims


Business Live - Mar 5th, 14:04

Ray Kelvin, the founder of British fashion brand Ted Baker, resigned as its CEO following allegations of harassment. 

Kelvin stepped down “in the best interests of the company”, executive chair David Bernstein said.

Kelvin was forced to take a leave of absence last year after claims that he enforced a “hugging” culture, massaged employees, kissed their ears and asked some to sit on his lap.

He founded his first store in Glasgow in 1988. Ted Baker had 544 stores in August 2018, with 201 in Britain, 110 in Europe and 108 in North America.

Kelvin, who denies allegations of misconduct, said stepping away was the “right thing to do”.

“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,” he said.

The allegations against him first surfaced in a petition against him.

Two employees, who did not wish to be identified, spoke to BBC radio.

“There was nothing inherently wrong with the actual hugs, but the uncomfortableness came from what tended to accompany them: unwanted personal comments, kisses on the cheek, neck stroking,” said a male staff member.

‘New leadership’

A female worker said the hugs could go on for 40 seconds and he would whisper in people’s ears.

“He would go in for a hug, regardless of any apparent desire from those he was hugging,” she said.

“Kissing necks, massaging people’s ears. This would happen every day if he was in a good mood.”

An internal independent committee has been investigating the allegations alongside a law firm.

The company is on the FTSE 250 stock exchange. Its shares were up 0.85% shortly after 9am GMT.

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."

“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.”

The shockwaves of the MeToo movement started to hit British business last year.

A series of very public sackings, suspensions and departures suggested that Britain’s finance world was waking up to the toxic implications of sexual harassment and workplace bullying.
Business Live 

Related News

How retailers can add value for consumers in turbulent economic times
25/03/2019 - 15:51
For the most part, it has been a dismal year for South African retailers; elevated household debt, higher fuel prices and an increase in value-added tax squeezed consumer spending. However, Ackermans, South Africa’s longest standing value retailer, performed well over 2018 reporting growth of just over 10% which is three times more than the industry benchmark.

Confusion around best-before dates causing unnecessary waste
25/03/2019 - 11:14
Confusion around best-before dates is widespread, causing unnecessary food waste. And in a country that's already food insecure, binning good food is not only unconscionable, it's plain wrong.

Pick n Pay introduces blood oranges to its fresh produce offering
22/03/2019 - 10:19
Fruit lovers no longer have to travel to Europe to taste the goodness of blood oranges. Pick n Pay has added rare blood oranges to its fresh produce offering making it the first retailer to offer this unique fruit to customers.

Instagram adds shopping feature for US users
22/03/2019 - 09:34
Facebook’s Instagram is trialling a feature that lets US users shop from the photo-sharing app by using a “checkout” option on items tagged for sale, the company said.

Retail sales recover in January after dismal December figures
22/03/2019 - 09:23
Retail spending showed signs of recovery in January, growing 1.2% on an annualised basis, slightly faster than analysts had expected.