Guess Founder Paul Marciano To Resign After Investigation Into Improper Conduct

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Guess Inc (GES.N) said on Tuesday its co-founder, Paul Marciano, had resigned as the company's executive chairman after a special committee completed an investigation into allegations of improper conduct.

After the findings were presented to the Guess board on June 7, Marciano told board members he would be resigning and his brother, Maurice, would take over his duties.

"It's disappointing that such an iconic women's brand GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #MeToo", Upton tweeted at the time.

Investigators concluded that though not all allegations could be corroborated, Marciano put himself in situations where such allegations might occur.

The filing says allegations against Paul Marciano included inappropriate comments and texts and unwanted kissing and groping.

The allegations against Paul Marciano, who remains as chief creative officer of Guess, first emerged in February when USA model Kate Upton tweeted that it was "disappointing" Guess was still "empowering" him as its creative director. Although he forfeited his salary for the period from February 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.

"Numerous allegations could not be corroborated", the filing added.

The allegations first became public when model Kate Upton said in a Time magazine interview that Paul Marciano grabbed her breasts during a Guess photo shoot almost eight years ago.

Resignations like his in the fashion industry have been far rarer than in movies and other media in the wave of sexual misconduct revelations spurred by stories on Harvey Weinstein in October.

To avoid litigation, Guess and Marciano settled claims with five people who claimed they were subject to his inappropriate behavior - paying each $500,000.

"We are pleased at today's news. and yet, much more remains to be done if Guess truly wants to be a brand that stands for respect for women", said lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represented four of the alleged victims.