Steph Korey, co-founder of Away
Source: Masha Maltsava
Just weeks after stepping down as chief executive officer of luggage maker Away for her controversial leadership tactics, Steph Korey is reportedly coming back to the leadership seat.
Korey, who co-founded the company, is now set to be Away co-CEO with Stuart Haselden, according to the New York Times. Away announced in December that Haselden would be leaving Lululemon, where he was COO since May 2017, to head up the digital start-up.
Korey stepped down as CEO after an article published by the technology website the Verge went viral earlier in December, in which it published 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 sharing their frustrations with what the Verge was reporting on a company that 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 the Times last week, Away’s board later felt it let angry people on Twitter dictate too much and pushed the company to act too rashly.
Korey said in an interview with the Times: “We let some inaccurate reporting influence the timeline of a transition plan that we had. … With some time and perspective, she said, the company’s board members decided to reverse themselves. All of us said, ‘It’s not right.'”
The Times reported that Away is now disputing The Verge’s reporting and has hired a lawyer. But it is unclear whether it will bring a lawsuit.
A representative from Away wasn’t immediately available to respond to CNBC’s request for comment.