The controversial CEO of Away says she won't go after all


Controversial CEO Steph Korey, which founded the luggage company Away, told employees on Monday that it would not give up the top job in the company, despite announcing last month that it would step down after intensive online criticism of its management style.

In a message to employees on Monday, Korey said she had canceled her previous announcement to remove any confusion surrounding corporate governance. Lululemon's former COO, Stuart Hasselden, was appointed sole CEO of the company last month. His first official day was Monday. He also stays in the company, said Korey.

The non-departure was first reported by the New York Times.

The away co-founders Steph Korey (left) and Jen Rubio in January 2019.


Korey originally said last month that she would down come According to a report in The Verge in early December after public outrage over revelations about their allegedly "toxic" treatment of employees.

The news broadcaster said Korey insulted employees through the Slack work messaging app. In a 3 o'clock message quoted in the report, Korey reportedly informed a group of employees that she would not approve vacation days or work-from-home requests until she was satisfied with her performance. Korey called the no-time-off edict a "career development opportunity" for employees.

The news sparked outrage on Twitter and elsewhere. At the time, 31-year-old Korey apologized for her.

"I can imagine how people read this past news because I was horrified to read it myself," Korey replied to the report. "I am truly sorry for what I said and how I said it. It was wrong, plain and simple."

Away announced that Korey will take over as CEO of the company and Haselden to take over the management. Korey praised Haselden's leadership qualities that she believed would be "invaluable to the company's next" growth phase ".

But the plan has obviously changed. Instead, Korey said on Monday that Haselden would become the co-CEO and that he would share the company's job with Korey. She also said the company hired defamation lawyers and identified "deliberate lies and distortions" in The Verge's previous report about her behavior.

A spokesman for Away provided CBS MoneyWatch with the message from Korey to employees on Monday morning, which was delivered via Slack. The company declined to comment on what it believed was explicitly inaccurate in The Verge report.

The Verge made a statement that it was ready to report.

Away sells popular suitcase luggage directly to consumers. The company was founded in 2015 by Korey and Jen Rubio, Away's chief brand officer, after the duo met at glasses startup Warby Parker.

Away raised over $ 150 million from investors in four rounds of funding. By May at the latest, the company was worth $ 1.4 billion. At that time, the company announced that sales in 2019 are expected to double to $ 300 million.

Investors had reportedly pressured Korey to step down from his leadership position in the company in December. It is not clear what has changed since then.

Away is a private company with only four board members. Only one is officially considered independent. This structure gives the company and its current executives, who are also founders and major shareholders, a lot of authority to decide who should become CEO.

But the recent changes to the CEO could be difficult for the company in the future. According to Recode, Away executives are targeting an IPO.

Last year, WeWork had to cancel the IPO in part because the company's poor corporate governance seemed to have given the then CEO Adam Neuman too much power. Neuman was later forced to resign and cut all ties to the company.