Guess co-founder Paul Marciano is understood to be stepping down as executive chairman of the US fashion brand, following reports of claims of “improper conduct” by model Kate Upton.
The BBC has reported that Marciano will remain on the board until 2019, and Guess and Marciano will pay $500,000 to five individuals.
Marciano said the claims were “absolutely false”.
He has been replaced as chairman by his brother, Maurice Marciano, and will leave the company on 30 January 2019 when his contract expires.
In a statement, Guess said the allegations against Paul Marciano “included claims of inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances, including kissing and groping”. It said that investigators interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed around 1.5 million pages of documents.
Guess said: “Many of the allegations could not be corroborated. In some cases, no conclusion could be reached because the individuals either declined to be interviewed or provided insufficient information to the investigators. And, in other cases, the investigation found that credible accounts were given by both sides.
“The investigation found that on certain occasions Paul Marciano exercised poor judgement 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 were first made in February, when Upton tweeted that it was “disappointing” Guess was still “empowering” Marciano as its creative director. Then in a subsequent interview with Time magazine, the supermodel claimed he had sexually assaulted her.