Paul Marciano, the co-founder of Guess Inc. has announced his resignation after an investigation found that he had “exercised poor judgment”, leading to allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
Guess recently completed an investigation into Marciano’s treatment of models and photographers, after the company’s co-founder was accused of misconduct. The company-commissioned investigation involved an outside law firm and a committee formed from the Guess board.
According to the filing, Marciano’s poor judgments have made any accusations against him plausible, despite him denying the allegations.
“The investigation found that on certain occasions 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,” a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission said.
Marciano stepped down from his day-to-day tasks when the investigation first launched in February, and due to its results, he has resigned from his post as executive chairman of the Guess board effective immediately. Marciano’s brother, Maurice Marciano, who is also a company co-founder, will reportedly become the board’s new executive chairman.
However, it’s believed Marciano will remain active within the business until his contract expires in January 2019. This will see him continue on as a board member, and the businesses chief creative officer for the remainder of the year. He also owns a 17 percent stake in Guess.
The investigation into Marciano’s professional conduct first arrived when Kate Upton told Time that he had grabbed her breasts during a photo-shoot eight years ago. She also claimed that he often sent inappropriate texts and would harass her by frequently trying to visit her when she was staying in hotels.
Guess has confirmed that it has settled five lawsuits against Marciano for his sexual misconduct, to the sum of $500,000, but the company’s filing revealed that a number of the allegations against him “could not be corroborated” due to “insufficient evidence”.
Attorney, Lisa Bloom, who said in a statement that it’s disappointing to see that Marciano will remain active in the company for the foreseeable future, represented four of the women receiving a settlement.
“We do not believe a man with so many credible accusations of sexual assault is fit to lead any company, much less one that sells primarily to women,” she said.