Harassment scandal costs Ted Baker’s chief £43million
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.