A senior PR boss has stepped aside from a charity’s board after being accused of inappropriate drunken behaviour following a concert chaired by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Declan Kelly, chairman and chief executive of public relations firm Teneo, has lost his seat on the board of campaign group Global Citizen after an alcohol-fuelled episode at a party linked to a fundraising concert on May 2, first reported by the Financial Times.
The adviser to Fortune 500 executives has also handed over some of his responsibilities at Teneo, which he co-founded in 2011, to the global management committee.
The concert – which Mr Kelly helped to organise – was put on by New York-headquartered Global Citizen, with the aim of rallying further global distribution of coronavirus vaccinations. It was chaired by Harry and Meghan, hosted by Selena Gomez, featured performances by artists including of Jennifer Lopez as well as messages from figures such as US President Joe Biden.
A spokesperson for Mr Kelly said: “Mr. Kelly attended the event on May 2nd in his capacity as a board member and speaker.
“At a large cocktail party that evening attended by dozens of people including Global Citizen board members and guests, Mr. Kelly became inebriated and behaved inappropriately towards some women and men at the event. He deeply regrets his actions and has personally apologized to the individuals he offended.
“Since the event two months ago Mr. Kelly immediately committed to sobriety, is undertaking ongoing counselling from healthcare professionals, and has temporarily reduced his work responsibilities. He has the full support of his family, colleagues, partners and friends.”
Global Citizen, which says it works to end extreme poverty by 2030, removed Mr Kelly from its board the following day and, according to the FT, has also launched an independent investigation into the episode.
The organisation is chaired by Christopher Stadler of CVC Capital Partners, who bought a majority stake in Teneo in 2019, valuing it at around $700m (£502m).
Mr Kelly, who was an adviser to Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008, remains in his senior roles at Teneo, which has been built into a self-described “global advisory firm”, with more than 1,000 employees across offices in the US, Europe and Asia.
A Global Citizen spokesperson said: “On May 3rd, Global Citizen was notified of the incidents and on May 3rd, Declan Kelly was removed from the Board.”
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