Away CEO Resigns Amid Allegations of Abusive Practices
The CEO and co-founder of popular luggage startup Away is resigning just days after her internal Slack messages were made public. Steph Korey, who co-founded the suitcase company in 2015, is stepping down from her role as CEO. Korey will be replaced by lululemon athletica's chief operating officer, Stuart Haselden, Away announced. Korey will remain on Away's board and will act as executive chairman of the company. Her departure comes days after The Verge published a damning account of the now former CEO's management style. Employees quoted in the article accused Korey of creating a toxic work environment where workers were publicly shamed by executives in company Slack channels and customer service representatives were routinely overworked.
Total Retail's Take: It appears that working for the hip, upstart travel brand was more of a nightmare than a dream for many employees, particularly customer service representatives within the organization. Driven by the allure of working for a brand that was exploding on social media, in part due to its growing popularity with celebrities, Away employees’ perceptions quickly changed when they were exposed to a far-from-idyllic work environment, characterized by public shaming on company messaging as well as intense pressure to work untenable hours. After these allegations were brought to light, Korey made the appropriate decision to step down from her CEO position. Working for a fast-growing startup isn't for everyone — the hours are long and the work seemingly never ending — but what Korey was demanding of her employees appears to above and beyond what should be expected. To get the best out of employees, they need to feel that they're being supported by management. That appears to not have been the case at Away.