Away Names Co-Founder Jen Rubio its New CEO
Away, the luggage company valued at $1.45 billion, named co-founder Jen Rubio chief executive officer after she spent two months in the role on an interim basis. Rubio, 33, is taking the reins at a precarious time for the brand. The pandemic upended travel, and Away’s revenue fell by an estimated 55 percent in 2020, according to Bloomberg Second Measure, which analyzes anonymous consumer transactions. Before that, the company was plagued by a report in December 2019 that its workplace culture, under the leadership of co-founder and then-CEO Stephanie Korey, mistreated and upset lower-level employees. Rubio succeeds Stuart Haselden, who left in January after taking over from Korey.
Total Retail's Take: The appointment of Rubio as CEO, a familiar fixture within the organization, will hopefully bring some stability following what has been a very turbulent time for the once admired brand. Rubio will be looked upon to revive Away ahead of an expected IPO this year. To start, the company will be learning more heavily into product extensions in categories such as backpacks and travel accessories, as demand for these items has grown as travelers have opted for shorter, often daytrips in the past year. In addition, in an interview with Business of Fashion, Rubio hinted at the prospect for new store openings for the brand, but not in the metropolitan areas where its first outposts are located. Away is trying to reinvent itself as consumers' attitudes towards travel evolve, and Rubio will be responsible for overseeing that reinvention.