A string of inappropriate e-mails and texts sent to female employees were last night cited as a reason for the forced departure of Starwood Hotels boss Steven Heyer.
Starwood, which owns the luxury Sheraton, Le Meridien and W hotel chains plus landmarks including London's Café Royal, ousted Heyer last week citing "issues with regard to his management style".
It has emerged that these issues included the discovery of scores of e-mails and text messages from the 54-year-old married chief executive to female staff, many sent outside working hours.
Directors became aware of the messages from an anonymous letter about him, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The board hired a law firm to question him about his promotion practices and claims that he had created a culture of favouritism.
The revelations were denied by Heyer but he has agreed to forgo $35m (£18m) in severance pay, telling the Wall Street Journal that "life is too short".
However, he will get a $2m (£1.01m) bonus for his final year's work and keep options that have vested at $4.8m (£2.43m).
By Daniel Thomas
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