Away‘s co-founder Steph Korey is out as CEO, following an explosive report into the company’s culture.
On Monday, the travel brand announced that it hired Lululemon executive Stuart Haselden as the company’s new CEO. Korey, who currently serves as CEO, will assume the role of executive chairman. Haselden will also join Korey and co-founder Jen Rubio on Away’s board of directors.
Haselden most recently served as chief operating officer and EVP international (and formerly chief financial officer) at Lululemon, focusing on core growth pillars such as product category expansion, omni-channel customer experiences, and significantly growing the company’s international retail footprint. During his five-year tenure at Lululemon, Haselden helped the company double its revenues and increase its market cap from $6 billion to nearly $30 billion.
Prior to joining Lululemon, Haselden was chief financial officer of J. Crew. He also spent time at Saks, Inc., and served as a Captain in the United States Army prior to entering the private sector.
The news follows an investigation that The Verge published last week. The investigation cited 14 former employees who described a “cutthroat culture” at the company, in which Korey demanded workers work almost constantly and pressured them against taking time off.
“With the immense growth of the Away brand, the complexities of our business have evolved as well,” said Rubio, the company’s president and chief brand officer. “Stuart’s deep experience across our three pillars of growth—product, retail, and international—and his passion for building, leading, and coaching teams will undoubtedly provide Away with the experience and leadership we need for long-term success.”
“Stuart’s impressive track record in strategically scaling retail businesses and teams offers invaluable expertise as Away enters its next phase of growth,” commented Korey. “I believe Stuart’s leadership, supported by other key executives who have joined Away this year, will have an enormous impact on our business, community, and culture, and we look forward to learning from his depth of experience.”
Away told The Wall Street Journal that the company has been searching for a new CEO since the spring. Haselden will start his role as CEO of Away on January 13, 2020.
Despite all this, 2019 has been a year of tremendous growth for Away on all fronts. Following a $100 million Series D investment led by Wellington Management Company LLP valuing the company at $1.4 billion, the company strategically doubled its workforce to nearly 600 corporate and retail employees worldwide and continued to grow its assortment of travel goods. Haselden’s appointment is the latest in a series of major leadership hires, which saw eight vice presidents join across the company this year alone. In 2020, Away plans to build on its success to date with increased investment in its own brick-and-mortar retail stores, expanded international operations, the launch of new categories such as travel apparel and travel wellness.