- Away co-founder Steph Korey will be stepping down later this year from her role as co-CEO, an Away spokesperson confirmed to HR Dive sister publication Retail Dive Monday.
- "This was always the succession plan — put in place at the beginning of this year — and is in no way a result of any recent social media activity as has been reported by some news outlets," the company said.
- In December, Korey announced she would step down a month later, to be replaced by Lululemon's COO Stuart Haselden. The company reversed that decision in January, naming Haselden and Korey co-CEOs instead for the time being.
Away's succession plans are back in the spotlight.
The brand drew attention in December, after reporting by The Verge, which revolved heavily around Korey, pointed to a toxic culture at the company. Within a week of publication came Korey's resignation as CEO, and then a month later the reversal of that decision.
While the succession plan itself may not have changed, this reiteration of it comes after employees shared concerns over Korey's social media behavior, The Verge reported.
In a series of Instagram Stories on July 1, Korey discussed the publication of "female founder hit pieces" by the media and implied that the publications that wrote them had lowered their editorial standards. She said that the authors were "almost always" millennial women, and noted this was likely because "these younger reporters are willing to forgo their personal ethics to advance their careers and profile" whereas older reporters have higher standards.
"I could write a whole separate essay about how defamation lawsuits should be made easier to pursue now that misrepresentation *is* the business model of some outlets," she wrote.
According to The Verge, Haselden and co-founder Jen Rubio addressed concerns about these posts in a letter, in which they assured employees that Korey's personal account "does not reflect the current priorities of the company" and stated again that Haselden would be taking over the role of sole CEO sometime within 2020, "on the original timeline."
Away is not the only DTC brand to suffer executive turmoil. Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney stepped down from her role as CEO in February, after a rift reportedly grew between herself and the rest of the board, including Chairman Mickey Drexler. Then, in July, the brand announced its interim CEO was exiting, and that the brand had named a new Chairwoman: Ashley Merrill. Drexler left in the spring.
Leadership at direct-to-consumer brands more broadly has come under a microscope as even popular brands continue to struggle with profitability long after the initial fundraising stage of a startup's life.