Guess, Inc. (NYSE: GES) announced that one of its co-founders, Paul Marciano, will be stepping down as a board member and Chief Creative Officer, once his contract expires at the end of January 2019, after the completion of a company commissioned investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault. The resignation was disclosed in a filing to the SEC that Marciano was immediately resigning as executive chairman of the Guess board, though he will still remain a member, and that his brother Maurice Marciano will be in his place as executive chairman.
“The investigation found that on certain occasions (Paul) 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,” the filing said.
The allegations became public when model Kate Upton claimed Paul Marciano grabbed her breasts during a photoshoot almost 8 years ago during a Time Magazine interview. She also tweeted “It’s disappointing that such an iconic women’s brand @GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #MeToo.”
The company soon began an investigation with an outside law firm, which looked into over 40 people and reviewed about 1.5 million pages of documents, including e-mails, human resources files, social media messages, and travel itineraries.
Paul Marciano has denied all allegations and in a statement to TIME, said “I have never been alone with Kate Upton, I have never touched her inappropriately. Nor would I ever refer to a Guess model in such a derogatory manner.”
However, a photographer for Guess at the time, Yu Tsai, says that he saw the scenes Kate Upton described and corroborated details of her allegations.
The company and Marciano have also said they have settled lawsuits with five of Paul Marciano’s accusers for a total of $500,000 to avoid costs of litigation and liability or fault.