Get­ting to know Ray Kelvin

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS INTERVIEW -

Ray Kelvin, founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of fash­ion chain Ted Baker, doesn’t like show­ing his face in pub­lic. When his pic­ture is taken, he par­tially cov­ers it with props: a bowler hat, a taxi sign, a shoe. “I’m an ugly bug­ger,” he ex­plained once.

Alas, the parts of his face he doesn’t hide have been mak­ing fre­quent ap­pear­ances in the me­dia since it emerged that dozens of cur­rent or former head of­fice staff have made com­plaints about his al­leged be­hav­iour, which seems to cen­tre on “forced hugs”. A pe­ti­tion signed by more than 1,000 peo­ple, thought to in­clude about 200 cur­rent or former em­ploy­ees, has called for an end to it all, say­ing: “It is part of a cul­ture that leaves ha­rass­ment un­chal­lenged”. The com­pany, which Lon­doner Kelvin started as a shirt shop in Glas­gow, said: “Hugs have be­come part of Ted Baker’s cul­ture, but are ab­so­lutely not in­sisted upon.”

Oh dear.

New for 2019: a cul­ture of per­sonal space.

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