Guess Inc. said Tuesday cofounder Paul Marciano will step away from the Los Angeles denim firm on an unpaid basis until the conclusion of an investigation into alleged misconduct.Guess’ board confirmed earlier this month it had created a two-person special committee to look over the investigation being conducted by O’Melveny & Myers LLP looking into allegations of sexual misconduct by Marciano that arose late last month.“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.Guess named Herrero chief executive officer in 2015, ending an eight-year reign for Marciano, who stepped into the executive chairman and chief creative officer roles, focused more on the company’s marketing efforts and product. The executive change-up signified the first time a nonfounding member took the helm of the company.Posts on Twitter and Instagram by model Kate Upton on Jan. 31 set off the investigation, with Upton initially alluding to misconduct by Marciano.Upton later went to Time magazine on Feb. 7 to tell the fuller story behind her social media posts, alleging Marciano grabbed her breasts and continued to inappropriately touch her throughout the day of a July 2010 lingerie campaign shoot. Upton alleges Marciano continued to harass her before a second shoot, calling her hotel room and asking to come up to her room. The model said she ignored his calls and the next day was dismissed from her job. The same day as the Time report, Guess confirmed it had established its special committee to oversee the investigation into Marciano’s behavior.Marciano has consistently denied Upton's allegations.Guess, in its latest update, reiterated statements made previously, saying, “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.”Last week another model, Miranda Vee, went to the Los Angeles Police Department to file a report against Marciano and Mohamed Hadid, the father of models Gigi and Bella Hadid, with additional allegations of sexual harassment against both men.Shares of Guess were off 2 percent in early morning trading Tuesday to a market value of $1.3 billion. The firm’s shares are so far down 6 percent since the start of the year.
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