Guess announced Tuesday that co-founder Paul Marciano has relinquished his day to day responsibilities at the company on an unpaid basis, pending the completion of the investigation into sexual misconduct claims.
Marciano is under investigation by the company over alleged claims by model Kate Upton. Earlier this month, Time Magazine published an article about the accusations, where Upton said Marciano allegedly verbally harassed and touched her inappropriately when she modeled for the denim label.
Marciano has denied the allegations. “I have pledged my full cooperation to the company, and I have the utmost confidence in our CEO, Victor Herrero, to continue leading the company during this time,” Marciano said in a statement.
The board of directors for Guess formed a special committee comprised of two independent directors to oversee the ongoing investigation.
Guess said in a release, “The company takes very seriously any allegations of sexual misconduct, is committed to maintaining a safe work environment, and looks forward to the completion of a thorough investigation of all the facts.”
Upton claimed that while shooting her first Guess campaign in 2010, Marciano grabbed her chest inappropriately. She said fashion photographer Yu Tsai was present at the time of the incident—and from that point forward, looked out for Upton on her additional photo shoots with the brand.
“It took a huge toll on my confidence and self-worth. I wanted to quit modeling. I’m sick of being expected to laugh off these aggressive advances and accept the power imbalances that exist,” Upton told Time Magazine. “I’m sick of being expected to endure all of this while being polite and professional through it all.”
In a statement, Tsai told CNN that he is, “extremely moved by the strength and courage that it has taken Kate Upton to tell her story and for the countless brave women and men who have already come forward.”