Rent the Runway's chief technology officer, Josh Builder, will leave at the end of May to go to a healthcare technology company, the apparel rental company confirmed to Retail Dive. He had been with the company for four years. The news was first reported by Business Insider.
Larry Steinberg will be joining as interim CTO as the company looks for a permanent replacement.
Rent the Runway President Maureen Sullivan left after nearly five years at the end of March as part of a planned departure that was announced internally in October, according to Rent the Runway. Sullivan also acted as the company's COO until the second half of 2019, the company said. Anushka Salinas is currently the retailer's COO.
The leadership changes come as Rent the Runway, like most apparel companies, has been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has taken steps including shutting physical stores, furloughing or laying off staff and reducing pay for those employees that remained.
The company, which specializes in the rental of designer clothing, faced criticism in recent weeks for continuing to operate during the pandemic. CEO and co-founder Jenn Hyman disputed points in a Huffington Post article that chastised the company for allegedly placing warehouse workers in a risky work situation.
"Like all warehouses and e-commerce fulfillment centers, we were, and are, explicitly permitted by the states to continue operating our facilities in New Jersey and Texas," Hyman wrote in a May 8 letter to employees. The CEO said that the company wanted to keep warehouses open for a number of reasons including to continue to pay associates who wanted to work, to serve its customer base, and to continue to make sales "to ensure there is a business in the future."
Hyman went on to say that the company has been "focused on employee safety from the onset of COVID-19" and has been "evolving our safety protocols to meet or exceed state and federal guidelines." The company also announced a $500 cash bonus for hourly warehouse associates and said that they will be providing a nurse on-site at their facilities.
Prior to the pandemic, the rental company made a number of moves to expand its services. This included in November deepening a partnership with Nordstrom to contribute apparel to the RTR ecosystem, while some Nordstrom stores served as drop-off locations. The two companies were also exploring a service called Rent the Runway Revive to give customers access to "gently worn, ready-to-wear styles starting at $28," according to an email sent to customers in January.
At the end of 2019, the subscription company announced a partnership with select W Hotels on a "Closet Concierge" service where customers could have apparel items waiting for them in their hotel rooms. Then in early March, Rent the Runway also launched a third subscription option where customers can receive eight pieces monthly, with two swaps allowed during that time period for $135 a month.
In the past six months, Rent the Runway also added three C-level executives to its staff. Cara Schembri was named general counsel, Brian Donato assumed the chief supply chain officer role and Gabby Cohen was promoted to chief brand officer.
The retailer was in the news this past fall when angry customers said their orders weren't arriving on time or were canceled due to fulfillment problems. Rent the Runway said in a blog post that fulfillment delays began on Sept. 13 when the company was in the process of upgrading its warehouse software. The company went on to cancel orders scheduled to arrive between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6 and issued full refunds and $200 to customers whose orders were impacted. Rent the Runway announced that operations were back to normal on Oct. 9. The chief supply officer at the time, Marv Cunningham, stepped down at the end of September for undisclosed reasons.