Away on Monday announced that Stuart Haselden, Lululemon's chief operating officer and executive vice president of international, will take over the CEO spot from Away co-founder Steph Korey, effective Jan. 13, 2020.
Korey will become executive chairman. Haselden will join Korey and co-founder Jen Rubio on the board of directors. Haselden has been with Lululemon since 2015, when he joined as chief financial officer, according to a company press release.
The shuffle comes just days after an investigative report by The Verge into Away's company culture, in which Korey was heavily featured. The publication spoke to former employees who described a "culture of intimidation and constant surveillance" at the startup, that reportedly often involved Korey, who was "infamous for tearing into people on Slack."
Away may be flying through some turbulence right now, but Haselden's navigated rough skies before. He was one of three leaders at Lululemon in charge of the CEO search after Laurent Potdevin resigned amid conduct issues. The result was Calvin McDonald, lured away from Sephora, where he had served as CEO of the Americas.
"We're grateful for Stuart's leadership and commitment to lululemon, and we appreciate the role he played to build our infrastructure and support our international growth," McDonald said in a statement. "He's helped us develop senior leaders across the organization who are ready and able to take on additional responsibilities."
At the same time, Lululemon announced that Chief Technology Officer Julie Averill and Chief Supply Chain Officer Ted Dagnese will join the company's senior leadership team, effective immediately, and report directly to McDonald.
Away gains an executive with experience growing a popular business. Haselden helped Lululemon double its revenues during his five years at the company and increase its market cap by nearly $25 billion (from $6 billion to almost $30 billion). He also has experience at J. Crew, where he served as chief financial officer, and Saks.
Away's founders made no reference to The Verge investigation in the press release, though Korey did post a statement Friday on Twitter about the story, apologizing for the things she had said in the past and admitting she had "made mistakes."
"What you read in the article doesn't reflect the company we want to be; and we will continue to work to improve," Korey wrote. "I want to be clear that the Away I am committed to is one where we set the highest standards for how we treat our people and help them grow. I want all of our employees to hold me, and the entire leadership, accountable to that."
Just three days after the feature, came the announcement that Haselden will be taking over her role, bringing "invaluable expertise as Away enters its next phase of growth," Korey said in a statement. Rubio alluded to "the experience and leadership we need for long-term success," but neither acknowledged the cultural firestorm described by The Verge.
It's been a record year of CEO departures — and high-profile ones as well. In 2019 alone, CEOs have either already stepped down or announced their resignation from Nike, Under Armour, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Tapestry and Gap.
In announcing its own CEO swap, Away highlighted its successes this year, including reaching unicorn status in May, and its plans for more brick-and-mortar stores, international expansion and entry into new categories, including "travel apparel and travel wellness."
"In just under four years, Jen and Steph have built an exciting and disruptive brand that has redefined how people look at travel," Haselden said in a statement. "When they first approached me about joining, not only was I overwhelmed by the impressive company that Away is today, but also the huge potential that lies ahead."