Diana Marszalek 29 Jun 2021 // 2:01PM GMT
NEW YORK — Declan Kelly has resigned as CEO of Teneo amid allegations that he inappropriately touched women while inebriated at a charity event in May.
Chief operating officer and co-founder Paul Keary has been appointed Kelly’s replacement, Teneo said in the following statement on its website:
"The Teneo board of directors regrets to announce that Declan Kelly has advised it of his decision to resign from his role as the company’s chairman and CEO. Teneo co-founder and chief operating officer Paul Keary has been appointed CEO, effective immediately.
The Board believes strongly in Teneo’s unique CEO advisory model, global reach and ability to deliver differentiated value to our clients. We are confident that under Paul, and the leadership team, Teneo will continue on its successful path of growth, delivering unique value to clients across its diverse business segments.
We want to thank Declan for his leadership and dedication over the past ten years in building Teneo into the world’s preeminent CEO advisory firm. Thanks to Declan’s leadership, and the efforts of its excellent management team, Teneo today serves the world’s leading companies with a deep bench of experienced advisors across a number of disciplines. With 1,250 employees in 33 offices around the world, he is leaving the company in a strong position for continued success."
Kelly released his own statement too, noting that "a campaign against the reputation of our firm has followed and may even continue in the coming days."
"However, regardless of the veracity of any such matters I do not want them to be an ongoing distraction to the running of our company. In order to protect the employees of Teneo and its clients, and with my family’s strong support, I have decided to leave the company and resign as chairman and CEO."
Kelly’s resignation stems from his behavior at a May 2 fundraiser for Global Citizen reported by The Financial Times late last week. Global Citizen removed Kelly from its board the day after the incident.
General Motors canceled its $250,000-per-month contract with Teneo after news of Kelly’s behavior surfaced, raising questions whether other clients would follow. Kelly, who worked directly with GM CEO Mary Barra, also worked with the heads of Coca-Cola, Dow, IBM and UBS.
The Kelly news comes three months after another high-profile controversy involving Teneo. In March, The Guardian reported that Trump aide Jason Miller had a secret deal with Teneo to hide his $500,000 salary from the firm to avoid paying child support.
In December, Doug Band, who co-founded the firm with Kelly and Paul Keary in 2011, left to pursue other interests.