Former David Jones boss Mark McInnes will return to Australia to "vigorously contest" a lawsuit lodged by a former publicist at the retailer, Kristy Fraser-Kirk.

McInnes has made a statement for the first time since Fraser-Kirk filed a A$37 million ($46 million) legal action against him, David Jones and nine directors on Monday.

"I offered my resignation to David Jones because I had behaved in a manner unbecoming of a chief executive officer," McInnes said yesterday.

"I made mistakes and I have acknowledged those mistakes. Having said that, I reject many of the recent specific allegations, and legally I have no alternative other than to vigorously contest them and I will."

McInnes said he left the company as soon as he could to try to minimise further impact on the retailer and to allow Fraser-Kirk to continue her career with David Jones.

"I apologised to all concerned most particularly to the complainant. And I apologise again today," he said.

"My partner, Lisa, and I will be returning to Australia shortly to allow me to begin working with my legal team.

"I ask that people allow the legal process to run its course."

Fraser-Kirk is suing for compensation and damages through various claims, including breach of contract.

In her claim lodged in the Federal Court, Fraser-Kirk said McInnes made unwelcome sexual comments and advances towards her on May 23, 2010, at a lunch celebrating the renewal of a contract between racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse and David Jones.

She also referred to incidents involving four other women which she said occurred in the eight months before her complaints.

McInnes has previously admitted behaving "in a manner unbecoming of a chief executive to a female staff member" at two company functions.

He resigned in mid-June and is believed to have spent the past few weeks in the United States with his pregnant partner, Lisa Kelly.