Ray Kelvin has returned to Ted Baker roughly 18 months after a “forced hugging” scandal caused the fashion guru to step down from the company he founded.
In a surprise announcement issued last night Ted Baker said it had signed a “relationship agreement” with Kelvin and had nominated a non-executive director to represent him on the board.
The retailer said the new arrangement brought the “benefits of access to Ray’s unique brand experience and insight” while also ensuring board independence was maintained.
Kelvin founded Ted Baker in 1988 and grew the company into a FTSE 250 firm with a market value of more than £1bn.
But the camera-shy boss became embroiled in a scandal amid claims he harassed female staff members with “forced hugs” and unwanted attention.
Kelvin, who has always denied the allegations, took a voluntary leave of absence before resigning in March last year.
The fashion founder’s stake in Ted Baker has dropped to 11.8 per cent following a rights issue, while his successor was ousted amid profit warnings and the discovery of accounting irregularities.
In March Rachel Osborne took over as permanent chief executive.
But the new agreement will fuel speculation that Kelvin is plotting an attempt to take back control of the company.
His nominated director is Colin La Fontaine Jackson, founder of finance boutique Hopton Advisers.
Chairman John Barton said: “We are pleased to welcome Colin to the board and to be able to access Ray’s great experience in building the brand over the last 30 years as we continue to make progress with Ted’s new formula for growth.”