Clarks chief booted out following misconduct allegations

Clarks chief executive Mike Shearwood has resigned after the shoe retailer found his conduct “fell short” of expectations.

Mr Shearwood, who has been at the helm since 2016, was investigated following complaints about his behaviour.

Clarks said complaints had been made on several occasions, and that his actions fell short of the ethics of the “family owned” retailer, which was founded in 1825 by Cyrus and James Clark.

In a statement, the Somerset-headquartered firm said: “Clarks recently learned that aspects of Mr Shearwood’s conduct, conversations and expressions fell short of the behaviours expected of all its employees on a number of occasions.

“In these circumstances the board has accepted Mr Shearwood’s resignation.”

Stella David, formerly a senior independent director at Clarks, has been appointed as interim chief executive.

Mr Shearwood was formerly boss of upmarket high-street retailer Karen Millen.

He has presided over a sharp drop in profits at Clarks, which fell from £63.7 million (€72m) to £45.2 million (€51m) in the year to the end of January. Sales dropped from £1.6 billion (€1.8bn) to £1.5 billion (€1.7bn).

Mr Shearwood’s exit is not the first time Clarks has courted controversy.

In August last year, the company sparked a sexism row after naming a girls’ shoe range Dolly Babe and a boys’ line Leader.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those to criticise the well-known company, which has apologised for any offence caused.

The Dolly Babe range, featuring a heart print detail, was withdrawn from the website and the firm said it is removing the name from in-store products.

Mr Shearwood has been contacted for comment.

- Press Association

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