The Guess Inc. models are vindicated.
Paul Marciano, the co-founder and executive chairman of the 37-year-old apparel brand, is stepping down, the company said Tuesday — four months after model Kate Upton and others accused him of sexual harassment.
A four-month probe by an independent board committee found that 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 allegations included “inappropriate comments and texts and unwanted advances including kissing and groping,” the company said.
Marciano will remain on the board until Jan. 30. His brother, Maurice, was appointed chairman.
On Jan. 31, Upton, a former Guess model, said that Paul Marciano verbally harassed and touched her inappropriately starting when she was 18. He denied the allegations but, two weeks after they were leveled, Marciano stepped down from his day-to-day duties.
To avoid litigation, Guess and Marciano settled claims with five people who claimed they were subject to his inappropriate behavior — paying each $500,000.