Page gets top job at Ted Baker full-time, boosts HR policies after 'hug-gate'
Fresh from its announcement this week about a China joint venture, Ted Baker had more big news on Thursday as it named its new permanent CEO and also the result of the independent investigation following the Ray Kelvin ‘hug-gate’ scandal.
You may remember that company founder Kelvin stepped down as CEO recently and finance chief/COO Lindsay Page stepped up as his temporary replacement. Well, Page seems to have pleased the board as he’s now got the job full-time. He takes over as CEO with immediate effect.
Page is the ultimate insider having been with the company for more than 20 years, first as finance director and additionally as COO, a role he took up in 2014.
The company said Thursday that he’s been “instrumental in the development and implementation of many of the strategic initiatives, both in the UK and internationally, which have underpinned the growth and performance of Ted Baker as a global lifestyle brand.”
For now, David Bernstein will continue to support Page in his capacity as executive chairman until a new non-executive chairman is appointed.
Bernstein said that Page has “demonstrated to myself and the board his unrivalled knowledge of the business and his clear vision on the opportunities and priorities that lie ahead. He is exceptionally well regarded by our teams and our partners, making him the outstanding candidate for the role.”
It’s a big change for the brand which had been led for its entire history by Kelvin, whose ‘maverick’ approach had been seen as crucial in driving the label’s success.
But it hadn’t been immune from the problems faced by other high street retailers in recent periods and some of the shine has come off its reputation for infallibility.
It’s unfortunate that weaker growth came at the same time as the story around Kelvin’s fondness for unwanted hugs also came to light. The company launched an independent investigation and after Kelvin stepped down as CEO, this focused on overall practices at the business.
On Thursday, Ted Baker said law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), which conducted the investigation, “has identified several areas for improvement in the company's HR policies and procedures.”
The firm has now “renewed training for all employees on HR policies and procedures and on acceptable workplace conduct,” and is maintaining an independent and confidential whistleblowing hotline. It’s also “enhancing the oversight of both people and culture matters at the plc board.”
As part of this, Sharon Baylay will continue in her new role on the board as designated non-executive director for engagement with the workforce.
And it added that “further actions will be considered and implemented in consultation with employees and other key stakeholders. As part of this, later this year the company will conduct a survey open to all employees about the working environment at Ted Baker in order to gauge views on the improvements that have been made, and any further ones that can be made in order to make Ted Baker an even better place to work.”
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