- Steph Korey, co-CEO of direct-to-consumer luggage brand Away, is stepping down from the company in 2020.
- Korey previously stepped down in December 2019 after The Verge published a bombshell investigation into the working environment at Away, where employees described a "cutthroat culture" in which bosses regularly berated employees. Korey was called out in this investigation.
- Korey then took back the role a month later.
- She came back into the public eye this week after making comments about the media industry on social media, which were later criticized by some employees.
- The company said in a statement to CNET that her stepping down was not related to these comments.
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Steph Korey, cofounder of direct-to-consumer luggage brand Away, will step down from her role as co-CEO by the end of this year, the company announced this week.
It will be the second time Korey steps down from Away in less than a year. She previously gave up her duties as CEO in December 2019 after The Verge published a bombshell investigation into the working environment at the company, where employees described a "cutthroat culture" in which bosses regularly berated employees on work messaging platform, Slack. Korey was called out in this investigation, and later apologized.
A month later, she took back her role and the company said it was disputing The Verge's reporting.
This week, she came back into the public eye while on maternity leave after posting a series of comments on her Instagram stories in which she criticized the media.
She said that several media organizations "have nearly non-existent editorial standards" and that she could "write a whole separate essay about how defamation lawsuits should be made easier to pursue now that misrepresentation is the business model."
Her comments were later criticized by employees in an anonymous letter sent to Away's other co-founder, Jen Rubio, and co-CEO Stuart Hazelton.
"Now more than ever we need compassionate and empathetic leaders who care about the company and its employees. Based on her recent activity, we are anxious and worried about what life at Away will be like when she returns," these employees wrote in the letter, which was reported by The Verge.
Rubio and Haselden responded to these comments in a memo to employees on Thursday, July 2, where they also announced that Korey would be stepping down as co-CEO by the end of 2020:
Steph's posts do not reflect or affect our current company priorities and the deep work we're doing around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We hear you that these posts, coming from a co-CEO, distract from our focus as a company, and we are sorry that this has caused pain for some of our employees and placed unnecessary negativity and pressure on our community-facing teams. We especially recognize the added emotional burden on our Black, POC, and LGBTQIA+ teammates. There is nothing we are doing that is more important right now than building and executing our DEI plan to become an anti-racist company.
Business Insider asked Away for comment but did not immediately hear back. In a statement to CNET, the company denied that Korey's departure was tied to her "social media activity" this week. The decision for her to step down had been made prior to this, it said.
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