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  1. Business

Centerplate removes CEO after dog-kicking scandal (w/video)

Centerplate announced Tuesday morning that CEO Desmond Hague had resigned from the company. [Centerplate]
Published Sep. 2, 2014

A food distributor with bay area ties has announced the resignation and replacement of its CEO in the wake of a viral video showing him repeatedly kicking a dog on an elevator.

Centerplate's board of directors announced early Tuesday that Chris Verros had been appointed to the role of acting president and chief executive officer after Desmond Hague's resignation from the company.

"We want to reiterate that we do not condone nor would we ever overlook the abuse of animals," said Joe O'Donnell, chairman of Centerplate's board of directors.

Centerplate provides food services at Tropicana Field and the Florida State Fair, as well as stadiums across the country.

"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."

The company's written announcement said Verros has been the company's chief operating officer since 2010 and has more than 35 years of experience, with a resume that includes an executive vice president post at Boston Culinary Group and group president for Fine Host Corp., which in 1993 acquired FanFare Inc., a company Verros cofounded in 1986.

The video, which was recorded in July but became widely known late last month, shows Hague standing with a dog in an apartment elevator in Vancouver. When the door closes, Hague is seen kicking the dog in the ribs. Later, he pulls the dog's leash until its legs lift off the ground and it hangs from the neck.

The Vancouver Sun reported the dog was a 1-year-old Doberman pinscher named Sade. After someone reported the incident, workers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals checked on the dog and found it crated in a puddle of its own urine, the newspaper reported.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," Hague said in a statement released after the video gained widespread attention. "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."

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