Daily Mail

Ha­rass­ment scan­dal costs Ted Baker’s chief £43mil­lion

- By Han­nah Ut­t­ley

THE boss of Ted Baker was around £43m poorer last night af­ter al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour to­wards staff sent shares tum­bling.

Ray Kelvin, who set the lux­ury cloth­ing re­tailer up in 1988 and is still its chief ex­ec­u­tive, saw the value of his near-35pc hold­ing fall by £43m to £241m.

His pa­per losses came as Ted Baker shares tum­bled 15.1pc, or 276p, to a five-year low of 1550p, wip­ing £123m off its value.

The sell- off fol­lowed al­le­ga­tions that Kelvin, 62, ha­rassed staff with un­wanted hugs and re­peated sex­ual in­nu­endo.

The re­tail veteran, who was awarded a CBE in 2011, has worked in the fash­ion in­dus­try for more than 40 years.

But he is fac­ing a probe fol­low­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of ha­rass­ment by fe­male staff at Ted Baker.

An on­line pe­ti­tion urg­ing Ted Baker to deal with the mat­ter has amassed more than 2,500 sig­na­tures.

It is un­clear how many have come from em­ploy­ees as the pe­ti­tion is open to the gen­eral pub­lic. How­ever, more than 100 staff have sub­mit­ted anony­mous sto­ries of ha­rass­ment on Or­gan­ise, the cam­paign web­site where the pe­ti­tion be­gan.

One em­ployee wrote: ‘The chief ex­ec­u­tive tries to mas­sage peo­ple around the of­fice, in­sists on long hugs with staff mem­bers, touches them in­ap­pro­pri­ately and openly asks his staff for sex. Many of the staff have re­ported their chief ex­ec­u­tive to HR, but HR keep say­ing “that’s just what he’s like”.’

A Ted Baker spokesman said: ‘Hugs have be­come part of Ted Baker’s cul­ture, but are ab­so­lutely not in­sisted upon.’

He added: ‘Ray, and the com­pany’s lead­er­ship, have al­ways prided them­selves on Ted Baker be­ing a great em­ployer and busi­ness to work with. Ac­cord­ingly, they and the board take these con­cerns very se­ri­ously.’

The firm is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the com­plaints. It has ap­pointed an in­de­pen­dent com­mit­tee of nonex­ec­u­tive direc­tors to con­sider the al­le­ga­tions.

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