The global fashion brand announced that its co-founder is stepping down following its own investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault made by model Kate Upton and others.
Paul Marciano is resigning immediately as executive chairman of the Guess board due to claims of sexual misconduct. He will be replaced by his brother Maurice Marciano, another company co-founder, according to a filing by Guess with the Securities and Exchange Commission released on Tuesday.
"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," the filing said.
Having denied the allegations, 66-year-old Marciano, who owns a 17 percent stake in Guess Inc., will remain a board member and chief creative officer until his contract expires at the end of January 2019.
The company, whose designer female clothing line reached peak popularity in the 1980s and 90s, said it has settled lawsuits with five of Paul Marciano's accusers totaling $500,000 (over €425,000).
'Insecure and powerless'
The allegations first surfaced when model Kate Upton said in a Time magazine interview that Marciano grabbed her breasts during a Guess photo shoot in 2010.
A month later, he repeatedly asked to come to her hotel room but she declined and then turned off her phone and locked the door. The next morning she had been fired on the grounds that she had "gotten fat."
"It's disappointing that such an iconic women's brand @GUESS is still empowering Paul Marciano as their creative director #MeToo," Upton tweeted in January.
"Paul used his