Venture

Away CEO Korey Resigns After Abusive Practice Allegations

Update: This article was revised post-publication with a comment from Steph Korey

Online luggage retailer Away has confirmed the resignation of its chief executive, Steph Korey. She will function as executive chairman. The news comes days after a report from The Verge detailing abusive management practices from Korey and others at the popular upstart, which was valued at $1.4 billion back in May.

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Before the resignation was announced, Korey apologized for “mistakes” made at the company through her Twitter account.

“What you read in the article doesn’t reflect the company we want to be,” Korey said in the statement, which garnered hundreds of likes. “I want to be clear that the Away I am committed to is one where we set the highest standards for how we treat our people and help them grow.”

Still the company insists the new appointment was unrelated to the drama. In an email from Away,  Korey said:Over the past eight months, I led the recruiting process that led us to bringing on Stuart, and I’m so thrilled for him to join the company as Away’s CEO. Stuart is a deeply experienced leader and operator who will be transformative for Away’s next phase of growth. I am looking forward to stepping into my new role as executive chairman.”

Meanwhile, New York-based Away issued a statement on Monday afternoon announcing that it had tapped retail industry veteran Stuart Haselden to serve as the company’s new CEO, effective Jan. 13, 2020. Haselden will join Away co-founders Korey and Jen Rubio on the company’s board. Most recently, Haseldan was the COO (and previously CFO) of Lululemon Athletica and before that, he was the CFO of J. Crew.

The New York-based upstart has raised over $181 million to date since its inception in 2016, with over 20 investors including Global Founders Capital, Accel, Forerunner Ventures, and Wellington Management.

“This story speaks to something true not just of startups but *any* company: everyone says they strive for world-class service for customers, but few are actually willing to pay for staffing, training, and tools necessary for that,” said one Twitter user, in response to the toxic work environment allegations.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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