Somerset

Ex-Clarks boss Mike Shearwood denies making offensive comments

Mike Shearwood, the former chief executive of Clarks shoes Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Mike Shearwood was dismissed in June 2018

The former boss of Clarks shoes has denied making sexist, racist and homophobic comments.

Mike Shearwood, 56, has taken the family-owned firm to an employment tribunal after he was dismissed for allegedly breaching its code of ethics.

The tribunal in Bristol heard he allegedly described a client as a "faggot", referred to "violent blacks" and said an employee was "hot".

Mr Shearwood said the witnesses were in "collusion". The hearing continues.

Paul Goulding QC, representing Clarks, described that as a "remarkable slur" and Mr Shearwood replied: "You asked for my opinion and that's my opinion."

He denied having a conversation about the size of one employee's breasts, saying that any such reference had been to identify her from others "by a way of description".

Mr Shearwood, a former chief executive at Karen Millen, was appointed in September 2016 and left the company in June 2018.

Clarks, which has its headquarters in Street, Somerset, said in a statement: "Clarks rejects all allegations raised by Mr Shearwood and we stand by our decision in relation to Mr Shearwood's termination."