- After a tumultuous couple of years for Away's C-suite, the brand on Wednesday expanded its leadership team with three new executives, including its first chief operating officer and its first chief digital officer.
- The DTC luggage brand named Charles Liu COO, who most recently served as COO of Casper, according to details emailed to Retail Dive. Liu will lead Away's supply chain and business technology teams, and also comes with leadership experience from Walmart, Shopko and Walgreens.
- Melissa Weiss was named chief marketing officer, in charge of brand marketing, growth marketing, creative and communications. Away also nabbed J. Crew's former chief digital officer, Luke Chatelain, who will be taking on the same role at Away.
Away is recruiting new leadership to help lead a "critical phase of growth" as it handles a pandemic that has hit travel particularly hard. According to the brand, the business has outperformed its initial revenue estimates for 2021, allowing it to return to growth investments. In April last year, the DTC brand furloughed about half of its staff and laid off another 10% after its sales fell 90%.
The "year of recovery" has been marked by expanding its product assortment, introducing new collaborations with celebrities, and partnering with companies like Marriott and Kith. Now, the retailer is bringing on three new leaders to help lead its growth in key areas: operations, marketing and digital.
In naming its first chief operating officer, the luggage brand noted it was in the midst of making significant investments in business infrastructure as it scales. Away's other appointments likewise reveal a focus on sustainable growth. Weiss, the brand's new chief marketing officer, is focused on building brand affinity while also driving revenue growth, and comes with experience from well-known companies including Lyft, Theory, Amazon Fashion and Barry's Bootcamp.
Away's chief digital position will define a new omnichannel customer experience for the brand, and the company is once again pulling a veteran retail executive for the role. Chatelain was responsible for digital transformation at West Elm and J. Crew, and will now oversee Away's digital product, UX and insights teams.
"After an extraordinarily challenging period for the travel industry, we have been capitalizing on growing customer demand and seeing significant gains across all categories," Jen Rubio, CEO of Away, said in a statement. "As we prepare for our next stage of growth and a critical year ahead, we are thrilled to welcome Charles, Melissa, and Luke to our leadership team. These talented and accomplished leaders bring an impressive depth of experience and diverse expertise to Away."
The new hires join about seven months after Rubio took over as CEO of the luggage brand, which was the end of a long tail of switches in the top spot. Former Away CEO Stuart Haselden left the brand in February, after just four months as the sole CEO at the company. He replaced co-founder of Away Steph Korey, who originally stepped down in December 2019 before deciding to stay on in a co-CEO role with Haselden a month later.