Guess? Inc. on Monday announced that Co-Founder Paul Marciano, who last year resigned as the company's executive chairman following an investigation of sexual misconduct allegations, will remain as chief creative officer. His employment will be "at will," according to a company press release.
At the same time, the brand also announced the exit of Victor Herrero as chief executive officer and a director, effective Saturday. He will be replaced in both roles by Carlos Alberini, who was the company's president and chief operating officer from 2000 to 2010, as soon as he leaves his post as chairman and CEO of Lucky Brand. Lucky on Monday said his departure is effective immediately.
After leaving Guess, Alberini served as Co-CEO of Restoration Hardware (now RH) until 2014, when he departed to lead Lucky, and has been a director on RH's board since 2010.
In June, Guess appeared to solve its Paul Marciano problem. The company and Marciano at the time "entered into non-confidential settlement agreements resolving claims of five individuals arising out of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Mr. Paul Marciano for an aggregate total amount of $500,000," according to a June 12 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The settlement was forged "To avoid the cost of litigation and without admitting liability or fault," according to that document.
The settlement came after an investigation into allegations that included claims of "inappropriate comments and texts, and unwanted advances including kissing and groping," according to an earlier SEC filing. After interviewing more than 40 people and reviewing 1.5 million pages of documents, investigators said that they 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."
At the time, Marciano was said to be stepping down from the company. Guess on Tuesday didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment or clarification about why he's staying after all. It's a remarkable about-face, especially in the #MeToo era, and investors didn't react kindly to the news. Shares toppled 12% Monday on the announcement and remained under pressure Tuesday morning.