STAMFORD, Conn. -- The CEO of an international sports venue catering company has resigned amid accusations of animal abuse after he was spotted kicking and mistreating a 1-year-old dog in a Canadian hotel elevator in a surveillance video, Stamford-based Centerplate announced in a statement Tuesday.
Desmond Hague has resigned, Centerplate said, and Chris Verros has been named acting president and CEO. The appointment is effective immediately.
"The decision comes as a result of Hague’s personal misconduct involving the mistreatment of an animal in his care," said Centerplate, which has its international headquarters at 2187 Atlantic St.
“We want to reiterate that we do not condone nor would we ever overlook the abuse of animals,” said Joe O’Donnell, chairman of the board of directors for Centerplate. “Following an extended review of the incident involving Mr. Hague, I’d like to apologize for the distress that this situation has caused to so many; but also thank our employees, clients and guests who expressed their feelings about this incident. Their voices helped us to frame our deliberations during this very unusual and unfortunate set of circumstances.”
Verros has more than 35 years of experience, the company said. He has been chief operating officer for Centerplate since 2010. Before joining Centerplate, Verros was executive vice president of Boston Culinary Group and previously served as a group president of Fine Host Corp., following the 1993 acquisition of FanFare Inc., a company he co-founded in 1986.
“I have been proud to work with Chris for more than 20 years, and feel that Centerplate is incredibly fortunate to have such a strong leader who can step into the role immediately,” O’Donnell added, “This past week has been very difficult for our company, our employees and our clients in particular, and I have no doubt that Chris’ experience, vision, integrity, and commitment to our values and mission will help us all move forward together.”
Hague came under fire last month after the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommend to the crown attorney that he be charged in the attack on the Doberman Pinscher. The crown attorney is similar to a state's attorney or district attorney.
The decision on whether to press charges could take weeks.
The abuse occurred while Hague was transporting a friend's dog, Sade, in an elevator at a Vancouver hotel. The actions were recorded and was handed over to the BC SPCA, and the dog was seized. The story spread across television and the Internet.