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Co-founder of Guess resigns amid $500,000 sexual harassment settlements

BY Marianne Wilson

The #MeToo movement and allegations of misbehavior has cost a legendary figure in fashion retailing his job.

Paul Marciano, the co-founder and chief creative officer of Guess ? Inc. and the subject of a probe into misconduct, resigned as executive chairman following the completion of the investigation, according to the company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Guess said his resignation was voluntary.

Marciano will transition his chief creative officer duties and other responsibilities to Guess CEO Victor Herrero by Jan. 30, when his contract expires. Guess appointed co-founder Maurice Marciano, the older brother of Paul, as chairman, effective immediately.

The filing revealed that Guess and Marciano entered into settlement agreements totaling $500,000 to resolve claims by five individuals (who were not named) arising out of allegations of inappropriate conduct. Guess said the company and Marciano agreed to the settlements, which are not confidential, “to avoid the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault.”

According to the filing, “allegations against Mr. Marciano included claims of inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping.”

“The investigation found 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,” the filing said.

The accusations against Marciano started in late January, when supermodel Kate Upton, via social media, accused Marciano of sexually and emotionally harassing women. In February, she told Time magazine that Marciano had sexually harassed and assaulted her during her first professional modeling campaign, when she was 18. Other women consequently stepped forward with allegations of improper conduct.

Guess went on to form a special committee comprised of two independent directors to oversee an investigation into the allegations, which were denied by Marciano. Investigators hired by the board interviewed more than 40 people and reviewed approximately 1.5 million pages of documents, according to the filing.

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Stitch Fix nabs Google marketer; launches new line

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Apparel subscription service Stitch Fix has a new marketing chief—and a new merchandise offering.

The fast-growing company named Deirdre Findlay as its chief marketing officer, responsible for leading all marketing, creative, and communications initiatives. Her appointment came as the retailer reported first-quarter results that easily topped the Street and announced the launch of a children’s line, Stick Fix Kids.

“Our new Stitch Fix Kids offering is a testament to the scalability of our platform,” said Stitch Fix founder and CEO Katrina Lake. “We’re excited for Stitch Fix to style everyone in the family and to create an effortless way for parents to shop for themselves and their children.”

Stitch Fix’s new marketing chief most recently served as senior director of global hardware marketing at Google, where she oversaw marketing for Google’s home hardware products, including Google Home, Chromecast, and Google WiFi. Findlay has nearly 20 years of experience leading cross-departmental teams, delivering strategic integrated marketing campaigns, and building brand strategy at organizations like Google and eBay, as well as for Whirlpool Brands, Allstate Insurance, MillerCoors, and Kaiser Permanente. She also served as senior VP at digital marketing agency Digitas.

 

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Jewelry giant bolsters executive team

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Coinciding with the company’s transformation plans, Signet Jewelers Ltd. has named two new executives who will round out the company’s leadership team.

Signet Jewelers, parent of Zales, Kay Jewelers, Jared and other jewelry banners, has named Mary Elizabeth Finn as chief people officer, effective immediately. She will be responsible for continuing to foster diversity and inclusion, and leading training and development for all team members.

Finn was previously the chief human resources officer at Nielsen, where she oversaw 44,000 employees across 100 countries. Prior to Nielsen, she held several senior-level human resources roles with General Electric. She has significant experience empowering employees during business transformation, providing effective training and development opportunities, and building diverse and successful teams throughout her career.

Meanwhile, Stephen Lovejoy has been named chief supply chain officer, effective immediately. His responsibilities will include oversight of all distribution and logistics, indirect sourcing and procurement, supply chain management, and manufacturing and operations, including repair centers and custom capability. Lovejoy will also support Signet’s industry-leading responsible sourcing initiatives.

Lovejoy joins Signet from Glanbia PLC, a nutritional foods company where he oversaw 12 manufacturing sites and 30 distribution centers around the world. Before that, he served as senior VP of global supply chain for Starbucks, where he used his deep understanding of retail supply chains to drive both quality and efficiency.

Both executives will report directly to CEO Virginia Drosos.

“Mary Liz and Steve are joining Signet at a very exciting time as we embark on our Path to Brilliance, and each will play a critical role in building our Culture of Agility and Efficiency,” said Drosos.

“Their additions, along with our recent C-suite appointments, underscore the commitment and focus we are bringing to our transformation agenda,” she added. “I am confident that we have a lean and highly accountable team in place with the diversity of experience, knowledge, and expertise to transform Signet into a share-gaining, omnichannel category leader.”

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