Declan Kelly resigns as Teneo chief after claims of drunken misconduct

Declan Kelly has resigned as chair and chief executive of Teneo, the global communications company, days after allegations emerged of drunken misconduct at a fundraising concert.

The company said in a statement on Tuesday that Kelly would be replaced by co-founder and chief operating officer Paul Keary “effective immediately”.

With his co-founder Doug Band, Kelly built Teneo into one of the largest and best-connected public relations and strategic consultancies, with 1,250 employees, a blue-chip client list and a roster of senior advisers drawn from the upper echelons of business and politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

He resigned from Teneo on Monday night, one person familiar with the matter said. Kelly had already been removed from the board of Global Citizen, a campaigning group that put on the concert, the day after the May 2 event.

His exit, six months after Band also left, means that Teneo has lost its most effective recruiter of new clients. As Teneo grew rapidly over the past decade, Kelly managed directly a minority of its accounts but he remained a close and valued adviser to scores of top chief executives.

CVC, the venture capital group, invested $350m for a majority stake in Teneo in 2019, valuing the company at about $700m.

“We want to thank Declan for his leadership and dedication over the past 10 years in building Teneo into the world’s pre-eminent CEO advisory firm,” the Teneo board said on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Kelly told the Financial Times last week that the executive had “temporarily reduced his work responsibilities”, was “committed to sobriety” and was “undertaking ongoing counselling from healthcare professionals”.

One client, General Motors, had publicly dropped Teneo as an adviser since the FT first reported on Kelly’s conduct last week.

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