Guess Co-Founder Paul Marciano Resigns After Harassment Investigation — Here’s Who Else Has Stepped Down in the Fashion Industry

Paul Marciano has resigned from his post as executive chairman of Guess following the conclusion of an investigation into allegations he engaged in sexual misconduct at work.

The Los Angeles-based brand and Marciano have also agreed to pay five of his accusers an aggregate total of $500,000.

In February, Guess’s board of directors created a special committee to investigate allegations of improper conduct by Marciano just weeks after supermodel Kate Upton accused the Guess co-founder of inappropriate behavior.

Over the course of the investigation — which included women other than Upton — allegations against Marciano included claims of inappropriate comments and texts and unwanted advances such as kissing and groping, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

After interviewing more than 40 people and reviewing about 1.5 million pages of documents, Guess’s special committee said “many” of the allegations against Marciano could not be corroborated.

However, in other cases, the investigation found that “credible accounts were given by both sides” and 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.”

Paul Marciano’s resignation from the board was effective June 11 and Maurice Marciano, Guess co-founder and Paul Marciano’s brother, will take over his post.

Regarding his role as chief creative officer — as part of a planned succession with respect to the expiration of his employment contract in January 2019 — Paul Marciano has started transitioning all of his duties and responsibilities to Guess CEO Victor Herrero. However, Paul Marciano will fulfill the remainder of his contract with no plans to renew it.

Marciano’s resignation comes at a time when the #MeToo movement has emboldened women at a seemingly unprecedented rate to speak up about instances of mistreatment at work. As a result, headlines of executive resignations are becoming more commonplace following an initial wave coming from the entertainment industry and the scandal surrounding disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Marciano’s highly-publicized exit marks a critical moment for fashion firms and their leaders who are being thrust into the conversation.

Here, a look at some of the other industry executives who have exited their post as #MeToo momentum rolls on. (Note: In some cases, the nature of the alleged misconduct remains unknown.)

Stuart Weitzman Creative Director Giovanni Morelli 

Just one year after making a grand entrance as the creative director of storied shoe label Stuart Weitzman, Giovanni Morelli made a surprise exit from his post this month.

Stuart Weitzman parent Tapestry Inc. said Morelli — who landed in the creative director slot in May 2017 as the first person other than Stuart Weitzman to hold the title — had behaved inappropriately during his time at the company.

“While we greatly admire Giovanni’s creative talents, Tapestry is committed to an environment where every individual feels respected, and at times his behavior fell short of these standards,” said Tapestry CEO Victor Luis.

Lululemon CEO Laurent Potdevin

The athletic apparel retailer’s chief resigned in February after the company’s board determined that he had engaged in unspecified behavior that “fell short” of Lululemon’s “standards of conduct.”

“While this was a difficult and considered decision, the board thanks Laurent for his work in strengthening the company and positioning it for the future,” executive chairman of the board Glenn Murphy said at the time. “Culture is at the core of Lululemon, and it is the responsibility of leaders to set the right tone in our organization.”

Multiple reports have emerged suggesting Potdevin carried on a relationship with a female designer he oversaw.

Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards

While Nike has yet to publicly connect the dots, in March, Edwards was the first of roughly 10 executives to exit the brand as it worked to clean house amid an investigation into alleged internal misconduct.

Nike had also said it was reviewing its human resources practices and system for reporting complaints as it became aware of behavior that was “inconsistent” with its values.

Nike VP and GM of global categories Jayme Martin’s exit came within two days of Edwards’ resignation. In the weeks that followed, Greg Thompson, VP of footwear, Vikrant Singh, senior brand director for basketball in North America, and Daniel Tawiah, VP of global brand digital marketing innovation, were among those to depart the athletic behemoth.

Access exclusive content