- The RealReal, which has been looking for a permanent replacement for founder Julie Wainwright as CEO since June, on Wednesday said it has hired John Koryl to take the job as of Feb. 6.
- Koryl most recently held key digital strategy positions at Canadian retail conglomerate Canadian Tire Corporation. Before that he spent six years at Neiman Marcus, where his focus included omnichannel strategy, per a company press release.
- Co-Interim CEOs Rati Sahi Levesque and Robert Julian will remain with the luxury resale retailer, Levesque as president and chief operating officer, and Julian as chief financial officer.
At a time of high CEO turnover in the retail industry, it has taken The RealReal eight months to find someone to fill the role on a permanent basis, after Wainwright abruptly left last year. As someone with both luxury and omnichannel experience, Koryl ticks key boxes for the upscale secondhand retailer, which operates mostly online but also runs 19 locations (including 16 retail stores).
But his experience in more traditional retail, rather than in the DTC or startup world, suggests that the company is serious about making money, according to Wedbush analysts led by Tom Nikic.
“We don't know Mr. Koryl, and quite frankly, we don't know much about Canadian Tire Corporation, so he's a bit of an ‘unknown quantity,’” Nikic said in emailed comments. “However, we believe this hire reinforces [The RealReal’s] desire to move past the Silicon Valley ‘grow at all costs’ mindset, building up a C-suite of financially disciplined executives to help bring the business to profitability.”
That includes the 2021 hire of Julian as CFO, Nikic said. In a statement, Rob Krolik, the retailer’s lead independent director, echoed that idea.
“[Koryl] has extensive experience as an e-commerce and omnichannel executive driving operational excellence and profitability,” Krolik said. “This experience, combined with his proven track record of successfully developing and growing online businesses, make him the right person to lead The RealReal.”
In his own statement, Koryl said that “driving efficiencies to fast track profitability” will be in focus. But The RealReal, which operates in the skyrocketing resale space, may find it difficult to get into the black as long as most of its sales are online, according to research from WD Partners. Lee Peterson, the firm’s executive vice president of thought leadership and marketing, reiterated at the National Retail Federation’s industry conference last week that brick-and-mortar locations offer the only profitable channel for selling used goods.
The company has enjoyed healthy revenue growth but struggled to notch a profit. In its most recent quarter, net loss reached $47.3 million, though that was down from $57.2 million the previous year.