Chelsea’s business chief, Tom Gleick, told an employee that her complaint to him about a series of inappropriate letters from a senior executive he had hired days earlier were of no concern to him and were not relevant to his job.
Glick’s initial response to Catalina Kim came after she sent him historical messages of a sexual nature she received from Damian Willoughby, whose brief tenure as Chelsea’s commercial director expired last week. his dismissal on the matter.
Willoughby was fired on September 20, two days after Glick initially sought to play down Kim’s complaints during a phone call. Glick said he left the issue aside.
When the Guardian contacted this story, Glick’s lawyers said he unfortunately did not properly review the screenshots prior to their phone call. He told Kim on the call that he had just seen the “headlines.” Before their conversation ended, and after Kim pressed him, he committed to looking into the issues raised.
Kim was in talks with Chelsea and Glick on behalf of foreign investors looking to funnel money into Chelsea’s academy, men’s team, women’s team and foundation, but he developed concerns after being informed on August 29 that Willoughby was ready to join the club in one of the top positions. Function. Glick, who has worked with Willoughby at Manchester City, set up a meeting between the trio at Stamford Bridge on September 1.
After this meeting, Kim told Glick that she felt “uncomfortable” working with Willoughby and on September 3 she sent him eight screenshots showing the messages Willoughby had sent her. Two days later Willoughby began his role at Chelsea, where he had previously worked as head of sponsorship.
After stalking Glick for a response, Kim arranged a call with him on September 18. Glick, who in July became the first appointment of Todd Boehle-Clerlake Capital in Chelsea, initially said: “I saw some headlines for stuff I sent in and just ignored it. So it’s not something I’m particularly interested in.”
After pressure by Kim, Glick said, “It seems to me that it is something not very interesting or suitable for me in terms of running a business. But what do you think? Tell me what I am missing.”
Messages Kim shared with Glick showed that Willoughby brought up the topic of sex and asked if she was naked. Willoughby suggested he would arrange a meeting with Manchester City’s chief executive, Ferran Soriano, if she was willing to be “naughty”. These developments have been repeatedly dismissed by Kim, whose talks with Chelsea over her investment proposals are understood to have stalled since she raised her concerns.
Kim asked Glick in their phone call if he had any concerns about how Willoughby would interact with women. Glick said, “What I’m saying is that I took a look at some of the addresses you submitted and put them aside. So tell me what you think. What is your goal?”
Kim said she is uncomfortable with Willoughby’s behavior and has concerns about his safety. When asked if she no longer wanted to work with Willoughby, she replied that it was up to Glick, as the person who hired him, to review whether he should continue with his job. Glick replied: “That’s your goal. I thought you’d want to try and partner with Chelsea.”
That remark was met with a surprising response from Kim, who asked Glick if he was saying she couldn’t create a partnership with Chelsea if she couldn’t work with Willoughby. Glick immediately denied that was what he was saying, leading Kim to question how her complaint relates to doing her business with Chelsea.
Glick, who was questioned by Kim about whether he thought her complaint was related to his job, said he left it aside. He added that, as she touched him again, “I think I’m going to have to deal with it.” Glick continued, “I’ll come back and take a look at what you sent. I didn’t look at the gist of it.”
When Kim responded that she stalked him multiple times, Glick said he was busy and sick with Covid.
Kim was introduced to Willoughby in 2015, when he was Vice President of Partnership Sales at City Football Group (CFG), whose stable clubs include Manchester City. He left Willoughby City to join Electronic Arts as Vice President in July 2021.
Kim asked Glick if he was concerned that other female employees of the CFG, who were not in influential positions, might be subjected to inappropriate behavior by Willoughby. Glick replied that he would need to review Kim’s footage, which he has not yet done. He distanced himself from Willoughby, who according to Kim told him that his relationship with Glick was unbreakable.
“Let me go back and look at what you sent me,” Glick said. “And that’s what I’m going to do. I haven’t done that yet.”
Glick called Kim on September 19 to say that Chelsea was investigating Willoughby’s messages. Club staff were informed in a September 20 memo of Willoughby’s dismissal. Glick also emailed Kim to thank her for bringing it to his attention.
Glick, the former head of Derby County, was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers in his last job before joining Chelsea. He served as CFG’s Commercial Director from 2016 to 2018 and was the City’s Commercial and Operational Director between 2012 and 2015. He was tasked with bringing additional business to Chelsea and tasked with starting their plan for a multi-club model.
Chelsea said after Willoughby’s dismissal that Willoughby’s behavior was “completely inconsistent with the workplace environment and corporate culture created by the club’s new ownership”.
A Chelsea spokesperson said on Friday: “Once the severity of the allegations made by Catalina Kim to Tom Glick became clear regarding the conduct of a new appointment during his previous employment, the matter was immediately escalated to review. The investigation is complete and the club has taken decisive action to terminate the individual’s employment.”
“Mr. Glick regrets that he initially did not appreciate the full extent of the allegations. After speaking to Ms. Kim, Mr. Glick read out the evidence in full and appropriate steps were taken leading to the termination of the individual’s employment.
“The club is committed to treating all of our stakeholders with dignity and respect and does not tolerate behavior that falls below the expected standards set by the club. The club has provided precautionary support to Ms. Kim and this offer remains open. We take all complaints seriously and have several options for escalation including Club Whistleblowing Line and Team Protection and through our website. “