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The boss of Clarks has resigned following an investigation into complaints that he acted contrary to the shoe-maker’s business ethics.

The company said it had learned that aspects of Mike Shearwood’s “conduct, conversations and expressions fell short of the behaviours expected of all its employees on a number of occasions”.

Clarks said that it had accepted his resignation. He has been with Clarks since 2016. The family-owned business, which was founded in 1825 by brothers Cyrus and James Clark, declined to comment on which areas of its 23-page Code of Business Ethics that Mr Shearwood had allegedly contravened.

In the most recent financial year to the end of January, profits at Clarks fell to £45.2m from £63.7m, while sales dropped to £1.5bn from £1.6bn previously.

Image copyrightCLARKSImage captionMike Shearwood has been with Clarks since September 2016

Mr Shearwood joined the shoemaker from women’s fashion chain Karen Millen where he was also chief executive.

At the time of his appointment, Clarks had been without a chief executive for a year after former boss Melissa Potter and finance director Robin Beacham left the company with immediate effect. They had departed following a sharp fall in full-year profits.

Clarks has cut a number of jobs in the UK and overseas, including 60 posts at its head office in Somerset in April last year. On Monday, Clarks said that Stella David, its senior independent director, would take over as interim chief executive with immediate effect.

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