Steph Korey, co-founder of Away
Source: Masha Maltsava
Just weeks after stepping down as chief executive officer of luggage maker Away following a report about her leadership tactics, Steph Korey is back as co-CEO.
Korey, who co-founded the company, is sharing the top spot with Stuart Haselden, a spokesperson told CNBC. Away announced in December that Haselden would be leaving Lululemon, where he had been COO since May 2017, to head the digital start-up.
Away said Korey was stepping down as CEO and moving to an executive chairman role after technology website The Verge published an article in December that included messages from Korey using the app Slack “as a tool to stalk and bully junior and minority employees.” Away’s workplace culture was described as toxic, based on interviews The Verge had with employees.
The article quickly set off a firestorm on Twitter, with many Away customers criticizing the company, which had long been hailed as a darling in the e-commerce era.
At the time, Korey apologized, saying, “I am sincerely sorry for what I said and how I said it. It was wrong, plain and simple. … I can imagine how people felt reading those messages from the past, because I was appalled to read them myself.”
But she told Away employees in a companywide Slack message Monday, which was reviewed by CNBC: “The inaccurate reporting that was published in December about our company unleashed a social media mob — not just on me, but also on many of you.”
She added that her move to executive chairman had caused “more confusion than clarity. … So, let me clear that up: I am not leaving the company.”
Korey went on to say the company will contemplate its “legal options” after The Verge responds to its “demands for retractions and corrections.” A representative from The Verge wasn’t immediately available to respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Away said it has hired Libby Locke, the lawyer who won a defamation case against Rolling Stone magazine for a retracted story about an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.
Locke said in an email Monday that the Verge “published hit pieces filled with lies and distortions designed to damage Away’s reputation.”
The New York Times first reported on Korey’s move to co-CEO.