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Clarks wins legal case against ex-CEO

Published
today Oct 7, 2019
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Mike Shearwood has lost his case for unfair dismissal against British shoe retailer Clarks.


Clarks


The former Clarks CEO was forced to resign in June last year following reports of inappropriate behaviour.

Claiming he was actually ousted because of raising the alarm on bad practice, Shearwood launched a legal battle against the brand in September.

An employment tribunal in Bristol heard the ex-CEO had described black people as “violent” and a female employee as “hot”. Witnesses also accused him of homophobic slurs and a senior US employee told judges that “a large portion of the region had been exposed to his inappropriate behaviour”.

The Clarks board made a unanimous decision to ask him to leave on 24 June 2018 following an internal investigation into a number of complaints. 

Shearwood claimed he was not given a chance to answer the allegations, and that some of the people who had given witness statements were in collusion.

The ruling puts an end to a bitter dispute between Clarks and the ousted executive officer, who joined the business in September 2016. Previously, he had served as chief executive at Karen Millen.

A Clarks spokesperson said: “Clarks welcomes the tribunal’s ruling and the rejection of Mr Shearwood’s claims. It has always been Clarks’ belief the allegations raised by Mr Shearwood were unfounded. With the tribunal ruling as it has, we hope this matter will now remain closed.

“We stand by our decision in relation to Mr Shearwood’s departure and are pleased to see the tribunal rule in our favour. We made it clear at the time of Mr Shearwood’s resignation that we would make no further comment on the particulars of his conduct and intend to maintain that stance.
“Clarks was founded on principles of integrity, equality, and community almost 200 years ago, and these values continue to underpin everything we do as a business.”

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