Guess Inc. has announced that its co-founder, Paul Marciano, will step down from his executive role on the company's board upon the culmination of a company-commissioned investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault. The Los Angeles-based fashion brand – which Paul Marciano founded in 1981 alongside brothers Georges, Maurice, Paul, and Armand Marciano – announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Tuesday that Marciano is resigning immediately as executive chairman of the Guess board, but will remain a member of Guess' board and will stay on as chief creative officer through January 2019.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filing states that allegations against Marciano – which the 66-year old businessman denies – were made by several women, including model Kate Upton, and assert that he made “inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping." Upon completion of the internal investigation, which Bloomberg reports involved interviewing more than 40 people and reviewing about 1.5 million pages of documents, the company further said that while many of the allegations could not be corroborated, others were, in fact, credible.
Still yet, the company's filing reveals that Marciano and Guess reached non-confidential out of court settlement agreements with five individuals for a total of $500,000 in order to avoid “the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault."
According to a statement from Guess, “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."