Ted Baker has removed an area allegedly dubbed the “Hug Zone” in its head office following the growing controversy surrounding its founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin.
The area, identified by a sign on the floor next to Kelvin’s desk, was removed earlier this week after accusations of “harassment” and “forced hugging” were made against the Ted Baker boss.
Last weekend a petition, signed by over 1000 staff members, accused Kelvin of making staff “uncomfortable” by allegedly enforcing a “hugging” culture on colleagues, as well as asking young female staff to “sit on his knee, cuddle him, or let him massage their ears”.
Further allegations emerged later in the week that Kelvin also pushed an executive up against the wall of a glass meeting room in 2016, according to three anonymous witnesses.
The fashion retailer sought to quell the growing PR crisis by announcing an “independent internal investigation” into the accusations would be conducted by Herbert Smith Freehills.
It is understood that Herbert Smith will report to a committee of non-executive directors chaired by Sharon Baylay.
Since the allegations against Kelvin broke, Ted Baker has seen its share prices dive to a five-year low.