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Ted Baker boss Ray Kelvin to take voluntary leave of absence while allegations about conduct investigated

The fashion retailer said: “The committee and the board have now been made aware of further serious allegations about the conduct of (Kelvin), which it will also be investigating”
Ted Baker model
Ted Baker said it would not comment on the nature of the allegations

Ted Baker PLC (LON:TED) announced on Friday that its CEO and founder Ray Kelvin is to take a voluntary leave of absence while allegations about his conduct are investigated.

In a statement released after the London market close, the fashion retailer said: “The committee and the board have now been made aware of further serious allegations about the conduct of (Kelvin), which it will also be investigating.”

READ: Ted Baker needs a hug as it appoints law firm to conduct harassment probe and as revenues drop

The company said it would not comment on the nature of the allegations.

The move follows an online campaign claiming to represent over 200 employees which called on the company to end “forced hugging” and “a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged.”

On Thursday, Ted Baker confirmed the appointment of law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to conduct an investigation into claims its boss forced hugs and kisses on employees.

The fashion retailer made the announcement as it reported a 0.2% decline in revenue for the 16 weeks to December 1 as lower wholesale sales offset growth in retail sales. At constant exchange rates, sales fell 0.4%.

In early morning trading on Monday, Ted Baker shares were just 0.1% lower at 1.491p, albeit having dropped over 21% in the past month.

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb commented: "It is reassuring to hear that the COO and CFO Lindsay Page has taken over as CEO with immediate effect, but it is unclear how long the investigation of Ray Kelvin’s behaviour will take, given that the Christmas break is starting to loom large (the longer it goes on the harder it will be for Ray Kelvin to come back).

“In the meantime, whatever happens to morale at HQ and the culture of Ted Baker, the risk is that the brand has been damaged by a week of unhelpful headlines and that Christmas shoppers take their business elsewhere."

 -- Adds share price, analyst comment --

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