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Guess executives Paul Marciano and Maurice Marciano will remain on the denim brand’s board of directors following its annual shareholder meeting on April 22. Shareholders voted to re-elect all four of its directors, including the Marcianos, as well as Anthony Chidoni and Cynthia Livingston.
“The board and management team remain focused on advancing Guess’ momentum, executing our transformation strategy and driving long-term growth and value creation,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to engage with our shareholders, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to acting in the best interest of the company and all Guess shareholders. The board of directors takes its fiduciary duties very seriously, believes in due process and will continue to make its decisions based on factual findings.”
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The vote follows a call for the removal of both brothers led by activist investment firm Legion Partners, which initiated its campaign earlier this year when new allegations were made against Paul.
In February, a model referred to as “Jane Doe 3” alleged that he raped her without a condom in February 2013 while she was visiting the U.S., adding to a series of sexual misconduct accusations against Paul dating back to 1983. The investment firm previously stated that it was “deeply concerned by the lack of good judgment the board of directors of Guess has displayed in continuing to allow co-founder Paul Marciano to serve as a board member and as chief creative officer of the company,” and that “as human beings, we are appalled.” It also called for the removal of Maurice on the belief that he enabled Paul’s cycle of abuse.
Though typically held in June, the annual shareholders meeting was moved to April to give shareholders the earliest opportunity to vote and “minimize the disruption and management distraction being caused by Legion’s campaign,” Guess said. Legion Partners, on the other hand, saw the rescheduling as an attempt to “freeze current share ownership positions.”
In a statement published on April 22, the firm noted that 83 percent of unaffiliated shareholders voted to remove Paul from the board during a preliminary vote.
“The fact that approximately 83 percent of non-insider shareholders who voted went against Paul Marciano continuing to serve on the Guess board speaks volumes,” the firm said. “It is inconceivable and deeply troubling that in today’s world someone like Paul Marciano could remain in a senior executive role despite more than a dozen sexual harassment allegations against him. It is also disappointing that Paul’s brother, Maurice, has in our view helped perpetuate the status quo.”
Despite the vote, the battle continues.
“The board must take action to address the issues that remain at Guess and we call on them to remove the Marciano brothers from the company,” it added.
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