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Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin to take leave of absence

Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin to take leave of absence

Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin is taking a leave absence from the fashion company after the board said it had been made aware of “further serious allegations” that it would be investigating. In a statement issued to the stock market just before it closed on Friday afternoon, Ted Baker’s board said the chief operating officer,…

Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin is taking a leave absence from the fashion company after the board said it had been made aware of “further serious allegations” that it would be investigating.

In a statement issued to the stock market just before it closed on Friday afternoon, Ted Baker’s board said the chief operating officer, Lindsay Page, would be taking over as acting chief executive with immediate effect.

Earlier this week, Ted Baker’s board said it had appointed the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to carry out an independent investigation into reports of harassment by Kelvin after about 300 former and current staff signed a petition on campaigning site Organise complaining about behaviour including “forced hugs” and ear kissing. Organise said it had sent about 100 anonymised reports of alleged harassment to the Ted Baker board.

On Thursday, the company said Kelvin would continue in his job while the investigation was being carried out, but Friday’s statement said he had agreed to take some time out as the board had “now been made aware of further serious allegations about the conduct of [Kelvin], which it will also be investigating”.

It said it would not be making further comment about the nature of the allegations while they remained under investigation.

The statement said: “Ray Kelvin has agreed, for the benefit of the business and the people who work in it, that he will take a voluntary leave of absence from his role with the company while these allegations are investigated.”

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In his first statement since the “forced hugs” allegations came to light. Kelvin said: “The accusations of the past week have raised some very serious and upsetting issues. It is only right that the board and HSF should investigate fully.

“Ted Baker has been my life and soul for 30 years. I love this company and I care deeply for all my colleagues. It’s for that reason that I have decided to take a temporary leave of absence.

“Ted Baker means everything to me and I can’t bear to see it harmed in any way.”

David Bernstein, the non-executive chairman, said: “I am confident that the business remains in a strong position to continue to deliver its long-term growth strategy.”

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