Guess co-founder steps aside amid Kate Upton allegations

Jason Merritt via Getty Images

Paul Marciano, one of the co-founders of iconic brand Guess, is stepping down from his role as the company investigates allegations of sexual misconduct levied at him by model Kate Upton.

The retailer announced in a press release Tuesday that cofounder Paul Marciano will be "relinquishing his day to day responsibilities pending the completion of the investigation".

Marciano will not be involved in daily operations at the clothing brand he co-founded with his brothers, Maurice, Armand, and Georges for the duration of the investigation, dropping his title of chief creative officer.

Shortly after, the company's board formed a special committee made up of two independent directors to oversee an investigation into accusations against Marciano. Marciano and the company have both denied the claims. "As soon as I walked in with photographer Yu Tsai, Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them - playing with them actually", Upton told TIME's Eliana Dockterman of her first meeting with Marciano.

"I have pledged my full cooperation to the company, and I have the utmost confidence in our CEO, Victor Herrero, to continue leading the company during this time", Marciano said in the statement.

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Upton voiced her allegations on January 31.

Marciano has told CNN, "These accusations are absolutely false". Upton said she worked for Guess again a year later, but had a similar experience with Marciano. Upton was the face of Guess in 2010 and 2011, appearing in multiple campaigns.

"I was terrified. All I could think was if he was able to get into my room, it would not be good", she said.

Meanwhile, Marciano was accused of sexual harassment earlier this month by another Guess model who took her case to the LAPD. "I have never touched her inappropriately".

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