Guess Chair Resigning From Harassment Probe to Stay on Board

(Bloomberg) -- Guess? Inc.’s Paul Marciano resigned as chairman after a probe of sexual-harassment allegations by women including model Kate Upton, though he won’t be leaving the company he co-founded altogether.

Marciano, who was replaced as chairman by his brother Maurice, will step down as chief creative officer when his contract expires in January 2019 though will stay on as a board member, a spokeswoman confirmed. Although he forfeited his salary for the period from Feb. 20, when the investigation was first announced, until he notified the board of his resignation on Monday, the outgoing Marciano will collect a salary from now until January, Guess said in a filing.

The allegations included claims of “inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping,” the company said. Investigators interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed about 1.5 million pages of documents, including e-mails, human resources files, social media messages and travel itineraries.

Marciano and Guess also reached non-confidential settlement agreements with five individuals totaling $500,000 to avoid “the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault,” it said.

Guess Chair Resigning From Harassment Probe to Stay on Board

Investigators concluded that though not all allegations could be corroborated, Marciano put himself in situations where such allegations might occur. He already relinquished his day-to-day duties at the retailer in February.

“The investigation found that on certain occasions Mr. Marciano exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers and in placing himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise,” the company said.

Though Marciano quit as chief executive officer of Guess in 2015, he retained a major influence in the fashion brand as chairman and chief creative officer. He served as the art director for a significant advertising campaign starring Jennifer Lopez this past winter. CEO Victor Herrero will take over Marciano’s remaining responsibilities at the company.

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