Paul Marciano to Resign as Guess Executive

Paul Marciano, the co-founder of Guess? Inc. and the subject of sexual-harassment allegations, announced he will be stepping down as chief creative officer and executive chairman of the Los Angeles company he helped found with his brothers in 1981.

The decision was announced on June 11 after the special committee in charge of investigating allegations lodged by model Kate Upton concluded its investigations. The results were presented to the board of directors on June 7 and June 11.

It was decided that Marciano will remain on the board until his employment contract expires early next year, but his brother Maurice Marciano will take over as chairman of the board.

Paul Marciano, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, has started to transition his duties to Victor Herrero, the current chief executive of Guess who came on board three years ago. Marciano plans to fulfill the remainder of his employment contract, which expires Jan. 30, 2019, to ensure an orderly transition.

Marciano’s decision to leave his executive positions was voluntary, the SEC filing said.

On Jan. 31, supermodel Kate Upton posted accusations of improper conduct against Marciano, saying he abused his power at the denim and fashion company where she once modeled.

Three weeks later, it was announced that Marciano would relinquish his day-to-day responsibilities on an unpaid basis while the investigation was being conducted.

“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,” Marciano said in a statement at the time. Marciano was the chief executive until 2015.

Results by the investigation undertaken by law firm Glaser Weil noted that allegations against Marciano included claims of inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping. Investigators interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed approximately 1.5 million pages of documents, including e-mails, human resources and legal department files, social-media messages, video and audio recordings, photographs, travel itineraries, calendar entries, agreements, invoices and financial records, the SEC documents said.

Many of the allegations could not be corroborated. In some cases, no conclusion could be reached because the individuals either declined to be interviewed or provided insufficient information to the investigators. And, in other cases, the investigation found that credible accounts were given by both sides.

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.

To avoid the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault, Guess and Paul Marciano entered into non-confidential settlement agreements totaling $500,000 to resolve claims by five individuals who made allegations of inappropriate conduct by Paul Marciano.