An employment tribunal in the British city of Bristol has ruled against Mike Shearwood in his dispute with C&J Clarks. Shearwood was the big British shoe company's chief executive from September 2016 to June 24, 2018, when its board moved unanimously to oust him. He was recently replaced by Giorgio Presca, a former CEO of Geox.
Shearwood was alleged to have made a number of lewd or insulting remarks to various customers and members of staff. He has denied the allegations and contended that some of his comments were taken out of context or had been meant to drive home a serious point in a colorful way. He claimed, moreover, that two of the witnesses who have made statements against him were colluding, that he was fired just as he was preparing to expose problems in Clarks' accounting and corporate governance, and that Clarks never gave him a chance to respond to the allegations.
According to Clarks, the forced resignation came after an investigation into several infringements by Shearwood of its code of ethics. Before the ruling, the company released a statement saying, “It is Clarks' firmly held belief that Mr. Shearwood is fabricating a frivolous and vexatious narrative surrounding his time at Clarks purely with the intent of eliciting a termination payment from the business.” According to a new statement, the company wishes to regard the matter as now closed. “We made it clear at the time of Mr Shearwood's resignation,” the statement reads, “that we would make no further comment on the particulars of his conduct and intend to maintain that stance.”