Stuart Haselden to take over as CEO in 2020
Steph Korey, co-CEO of the luggage company Away, will step down within a year, co-founder Jen Rubio and co-CEO Stuart Haselden told the team today, after employees expressed concern about the recent behavior of social media of Korey.
“Steph’s personal social media activity does not reflect the company’s current priorities,” wrote Rubio and Haselden. “We are with you, our employees.”
The news follows Korey stepping down as CEO last year and returning as co-CEO in early January.
Korey initially stepped down after an investigation by The Verge in December 2019, which highlighted employees’ concerns about Korey’s management style. Employees on the customer experience team felt particularly overwhelmed and undervalued and had problems with the way Korey spoke to them. In a colorful anecdote, Korey told a group of customer experience employees that he would stop approving his paid leave and working with home orders to teach them “accountability.”
Following the publication of The Verge’s article in December, Korey stepped down as CEO, saying he was sincerely sorry for what he said and adding: “I can imagine how people felt reading these messages from the past, because I was horrified to read them. them. Myself. “But she returned as co-CEO in January, telling the New York Times that it was” a mistake to fall on her sword. “
Earlier this week, Korey posted a series of Instagram stories about the media. “Several of these digital outputs have almost no editorial standards,” she wrote. “… I could write an entire essay on how defamation lawsuits should be easier to follow, now that misrepresentation is the business model.”
The posts irritated some workers, who found that their decision to write about the media in the middle of their maternity leave, instead of Black Lives Matter or Pride, reflected poorly on the brand. “Why is this the moment she chose to be present and speak?” they asked. “It is becoming very clear that it is because Steph Korey values his own reputation for the well-being of the company and its employees.”
Employees shared these feelings in an anonymous letter to Rubio and Haselden. While Rubio and Haselden ran the company in Korey’s absence, employees expressed concern about what will happen when she returns. “Her own actions (including deleting the only apology she ever made after The Verge article) prove that she didn’t learn or grow up with the December incident,” they wrote. “Now, more than ever, we need compassionate and empathetic leaders who care about the company and its employees. Based on your recent activity, we are anxious and concerned with what life in Distance will be like when she returns. “
On Thursday, Rubio and Haselden responded to the letter. “Steph’s posts don’t reflect or affect the company’s current priorities and the in-depth work we are doing around diversity, heritage and inclusion,” they wrote. “We heard that these posts, coming from a co-CEO, distract our focus as a company, and we regret that this has caused some of our employees pain and has put unnecessary negativity and pressure on our community-oriented teams. We especially recognize the additional emotional burden on our Black, POC and LGBTQIA + teammates. “
They also told employees that Haselden will take over as sole CEO in 2020 – a timeline that was not previously public.
Korey followed up with his own note on Slack. She did not apologize for her posts, although she said that the way the founders are being approached in the media is “far from the most important issue” in her mind.
A current employee who has worked for the company for years told The Verge: “There is a common feeling that she did well in December … without having to take responsibility. If she doesn’t solve these problems directly, people will be irritated. “
CHILLY LIFE reached out to Away for comment; this story will be updated when the company responds.
The full letter from the Haselden and Rubio to Away team is below: