September 2, 2014 8:30 am
Updated: September 2, 2014 12:45 pm

Centerplate CEO Des Hague resigns over dog abuse video

WATCH: Surveillance video showing alleged dog abuse. Warning: disturbing content.

UPDATE: Desmond Hague, the CEO caught on surveillance camera kicking and choking a small dog, has resigned. 

Despite an earlier promise for Hague to donate $100,000 and 1000 hours of community service to animal welfare, an online petition to fire him has gathered more than 180,000 signatures.

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Global News

The SPCA has finished their investigation into the case and forwarded their charge recommendations to Crown.

Centerplate has released the following statement this morning: 

Centerplate’s board of directors announced today that Chris Verros has been appointed to the role of acting president and chief executive officer, effective immediately, following the resignation of Desmond Hague from the company. The decision comes as a result of Hague’s personal misconduct involving the mistreatment of an animal in his care.

“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.”

Chris Verros assumes the new role with more than 35 years of experience and a reputation as one of the industry’s most respected leaders. Chief Operating Officer for Centerplate since 2010, he helped the company to achieve unprecedented growth. Prior to joining Centerplate, Verros was Executive Vice President of Boston Culinary Group and previously served as a Group President of Fine Host Corporation, 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.”

Previous story: 

The company that found itself in the midst of controversy over a video showing its CEO allegedly abusing a dog in the elevator of a Vancouver building says it is conducting an internal review.

The BC SPCA has launched an investigation and forwarded charges to Crown over the surveillance video that allegedly shows Desmond Hague kicking a dog several times and hauling it by its leash.

On August 26, Centerplate released a statement saying, the company does not condone the mistreatment of animals by any of its employees.

Mr. Hague has agreed to attend counseling to address his anger management issues and has publicly expressed he is deeply ashamed and remorseful for his behavior. He has apologized to everyone directly involved as well as to the company’s clients and employees, and has pledged a significant, personal, multi-year financial commitment to help support the protection and safety of animals.

The company says a public statement will be issued as soon as Centerplate completes its review.

Hague released an apology statement saying he takes full responsibility of his actions.

…this incident is completely and utterly out of character and I am ashamed and deeply embarrassed. Under the circumstances of the evening in question, a minor frustration with a friend’s pet caused me to lose control of my emotional response. Unfortunately, I acted inappropriately, and I am deeply sorry for that and am very grateful that no harm was caused to the animal.

Centerplate has contracts in British Columbia with BC Pavilion Corporation, the Crown Corporation responsible for operating BC Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The release of the video has caused outrage on social media, with some users calling on the Provincial Crown Corporation to drop their contracts with Centerplate.

PavCo spokesperson reached out to Global News, saying they are deeply concerned by the video, but won’t be commenting further while the matter is being reviewed by Crown Counsel.

Centerplate is also the exclusive food and beverage provider for the San Diego Convention Center.

The San Diego Convention Center Corporation said on Tuesday it finds the behavior seen in the video “disturbing.”

While deeply troubling, Mr. Hague’s actions are personal and are not a reflection of the hundreds of local San Diego Centerplate employees that deliver the highest quality of service at the San Diego Convention Center every day.

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