By Paul Hayes

SYDNEY, NSW: David Jones chief executive, Mark McInnes, has stepped down this morning after confessing to improper behaviour towards a female member of staff.

One of Australia’s most prominent executives, McInnes offered his resignation after he admitted to behaving “in a manner unbecoming of a chief executive to a female staff member”.

“At two recent company functions I behaved in a manner unbecoming of the high standard expected of a chief executive officer to a female staff member,” said McInnes.

“In resigning immediately it is my hope that I will minimise the impact of my errors of judgment on all and on David Jones.”

Details of the inappropriate conduct were not given.

McInnes’ resignation from David Jones is effective immediately, with the retailer naming company veteran, Paul Zahra, as its new CEO.

Given the circumstances of his departure, the David Jones board said that McInnes’ settlement will be less than his contractual entitlement after his 13 years at the company, with the departing chief set to receive statutory entitlements of $445,421 and a settlement payment of $1.5 million.

“The circumstances of Mr McInnes’ departure are deeply regrettable,” said David Jones Chairman, Robert Savage.

“The board has acted promptly to address a complaint made by the female staff member concerned.”

McInnes said the he and his partner will “be overseas for the foreseeable future.”