Fashion house Ted Baker has announced its embattled boss Ray Kelvin will take a voluntary leave of absence following fresh allegations about his conduct.
The business, which has its roots in Scotland, said its board had been made aware of “further serious allegations” about the behaviour of its founder and chief executive.
Kelvin had agreed “for the benefit of the business and the people who work in it” to leave his role while the allegations are investigated, said the firm.
This comes after the under-fire retailer yesterday appointed law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to conduct an independent external investigation into harassment allegations levelled against Kelvin, which had led to a petition calling on the fashion brand to take action and accused the executive of enforcing a “hugging” culture.
Kelvin is also accused of asking young female staff to “sit on his knee, cuddle him or let him massage their ears”.
The Ted Baker board has appointed chief operating officer Lindsay Page as acting CEO with immediate effect while Kelvin remains on leave.
It said the company would make no further comment about the nature of the allegations while they remain under investigation.
Non-executive chairman David Bernstein said: “As previously stated, the board has moved quickly to appoint Herbert Smith Freehills LLP to conduct a thorough and independent external investigation into recent reports regarding the company and its chief executive.
“Ted Baker has great people across its global teams as well as a highly experienced operational board underpinned by the strength and experience of our teams, I am confident that the business remains in a strong position to continue to deliver its long-term growth strategy.”