Paul Marciano, the co-founder of Guess Inc., resigned from his position as executive chairman on Monday, months after being accused of sexual harassment from model Kate Upton.
Marciano denied the allegations and stated, “I have pledged my full cooperation to the company, and I have the utmost confidence in our CEO, Victor Herrero, to continue leading the company during this time.”
The allegations first came to light earlier this year when, according to a previous article in The Jewish Voice, Upton accused Marciano in TIME of sexually assaulting her in 2010, when she was 18 years old. Marciano had denied those claims, saying that he had “never been alone with Kate Upton” and “never touched her inappropriately.” He also told TIME that he would “not allow others to defame me and tarnish my reputation,” pledged to cooperate fully with investigation, and showed support for #metoo, a growing social media movement which empowers women to speak out against sexual harassment.
For the past four months, Marciano was on unpaid leave, while Guess launched an investigative team with an outside law firm to look into the reports of comments and texts that he had made to models, as well as kissing and groping without consent. The team concluded, after interviewing over 40 people and reviewing almost 1.5 million pages of documentation, that “many of the allegations could not be corroborated,” according to the official filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Guess released on Tuesday.
The filing also states that “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.” It also corroborates the company’s settling of lawsuits with five accusers for a total of $500,000 but claims that settlement does not admit fault.
Maurice Marciano, Paul’s brother and co-founder of Guess, took over Paul’s position as chairman upon Paul’s resignation. Paul will remain on the board of the company and will continue his position as chief creative officer until his contract with the company expires in 2019, and will keep his 17 percent stake in the company.