Chelsea business president Tom Glick initially dismissed a complaint about inappropriate text messages sent by the club’s commercial director to a female agent as “not relevant” to his job.
BBC Sport has learned that two weeks after agent Catalina Kim first reported the messages to Glick, she told him the issue was “not interesting” and “put it aside”.
Damian Willoughby said he hasn’t looked at the screenshots of the messages sent by Kim in detail, just the “headlines”.
Only when Kim questioned his response did he agree to review the posts again, leading to an internal review Willoughby’s impeachment last week
Chelsea said it escalated the issue “immediately” after the “seriousness” of the allegations became apparent.
Kim partnered with British owner Nick Candy to buy Chelsea in March through his company C&P Sports Group.
They sent inappropriate messages before Willoughby joined Chelsea in September, one of his first appointments since he was taken over by businessman Todd Boehly and an investment group led by Clearlake Capital. His official start date was September 5th.
He previously worked at Chelsea between 2007 and 2010 and most recently served as EA Sports Vice President and City Football Group (CFG) executive.
On Sept. 3, Kim told Glick — who was appointed by Chelsea in July and previously worked with Willoughby at CFG — that she felt “uncomfortable” working on a project with Willoughby because of his aggressive manner during and after a recent meeting. for the phone call, and the experience with him.
That day Willoughby shared screenshots of inappropriate messages he had sent her over a two-year period, repeatedly asking her if she would be “naughty” and asking her to send him nude photos.
Glick did not respond to Kim’s message.
A week later, when Kim hadn’t heard from Glick, she followed up with the complaint.
In a series of messages seen by BBC Sport, Glick blamed the lack of response on being busy “rescheduling games and changing coaches” and then “coming down with Covid”.
Kim and Glick spoke on the phone on September 18, 15 days after Kim sent the screenshots.
In that phone call, Glick told her that he had seen “some of the headlines of the stuff you sent and I just put it aside,” that it “wasn’t something I was particularly interested in” and that “it sounds like something to me.” that’s not interesting or important to me in terms of running the business.”
He later said: “I put it aside. And so now you’ve brought it up again, so I guess we’ll have to deal with it. I’ll have to go back and look at what you sent. I didn’t look at the gist of the details.”
Later in the phone call he said, “I have to go back and now take a look at what you sent me, which I haven’t done yet.”
The day after this phone call, on September 19, Glick sent a message to Kim saying, “I have now read what you sent me. We are taking this matter very seriously. I will get back to you after an internal review.”
Willoughby was fired the next day.
A Chelsea spokesman said: “When the seriousness of the allegations made against Tom Glick by Catalina Kim regarding the behavior of a new recruit during his previous employment became apparent, the matter was immediately escalated for review. An investigation was completed and the club took decisive action to terminate the individual’s employment. took them
“Mr. Glick regrets that he did not initially appreciate the full extent of the allegations. After speaking with Ms. Kim, Mr. Glick read the full evidence and appropriate action was taken, resulting in the termination of the individual’s employment.
“The club is committed to treating all of our stakeholders with dignity and respect and will not tolerate behavior that falls below the standards expected of the club. The club has offered Ms. Kim sponsorship support and this offer remains open.
“We take all complaints seriously and have a number of options for escalation, including through club warnings, the support team and our website.”