American Apparel's board removed founder and CEO Dov Charney from the top of the company on Wednesday, saying "We take no joy in this, but the board felt it was the right thing to do," and adding that Charney had been fired "for cause."
The controversial executive, who founded the clothing retailer, has been hit with a number of sexual harassment lawsuits in the last decade (some of which never panned out) and is under investigation for alleged misconduct. The Guardian gives examples of some of his other questionable behavior:
Charney has made no secret of his louche tastes. His exhibitionism has included having oral sex with an employee in front of a journalist and wearing only his underwear with two women in an ad captioned "in bed with the boss".
His suspension is effective immediately, and his position as chairman and CEO will be terminated in 30 days. The company's CFO John Luttrell will act as chief executive until Charney is permanently replaced.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the firing was apparently kept under wraps from employees, who were taken by surprise when asked for comment on the incident:
One man said he was "speechless." A woman said she often saw Charney, 45, strolling through the facility and had spotted him as recently as Tuesday. But there was no sign of him on Wednesday, she said.... "I just want to pass out -- it's unbelievable," said recycling employee Jesse Craig, 27, of Charney’s firing. "He's the head honcho. He's a role model. I'm shocked."
In a statement, the company's new co-chairman Allan Mayer said that, "Dov Charney created American Apparel, but the company has grown much larger than any one individual and we are confident that its greatest days are still ahead." Mayer added that the decision was not because of "any problems with the company’s operations," though company shares have spiked since the announcement.