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Report: Inquiry forcing Restoration Hardware CEO to step down

NEW YORK - The New York Times is reporting that Gary Friedman's move to step down from Restoration Hardware'sGary Friedman top posts was tied to an internal inquiry into a relationship he had with a former 26-year-old female employee.

The report sheds a different light on the Corte Madera, Calif.-based company's announcement earlier this week that it was shuffling top executives as it created a new corporation to develop clothing and other new lines of merchandise.

Friedman, who is 54, is currently chairman and co-CEO of Restoration Hardware. The company said he will leave those posts to become the founder, chairman, and CEO of the new company, Hierarchy, but will remain involved with Restoration in an advisory role. He also remains the retailer's largest individual stockholder.

Carlos Alberini, Restoration's co-CEO, will become its sole CEO.

Attributing the information to unnamed sources, the Times said Friedman was confronted this month with the board investigation's results, in which he was "found to have had an inappropriate relationship with a female employee, who has since left the company."

A spokesman for the company declined to comment, the Times said.

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