Steph Korey, who had planned to resign from her role as CEO of Away following a report of a “toxic work environment,” will remain with the company to serve as Co-CEO alongside Stuart Haselden, according to The New York Times. The company now disputes the story in The Verge that alleged the bad behavior, and members of its board say they feel “as if they fell victim to management by Twitter mob.”
“Frankly, we let some inaccurate reporting influence the timeline of a transition plan that we had,” said Korey in an interview with The New York Times. “All of us said, ‘It’s not right.’”
The original story included claims from former employees who said they were not allowed to email each other and that direct messages were limited to minor, non-work related subjects like lunch, among other accusations. Additionally, the employees claimed they were expected to use the chat app Slack, where direct messaging was discouraged in favor of transparent channels.
Away is now disputing The Verge’s reporting, and has hired lawyer Elizabeth M. Locke, though the retailer has not announced any plans for a lawsuit. The company also has released emails from employees that suggest they loved working for Korey.
The Verge has made several updates and corrections to its piece since its release, and released a statement that said, “Steph Korey responding to our reporting by saying her behavior and comments were ‘wrong, plain and simple’ and then choosing to step down as CEO speaks for itself.”
Korey’s New Title Doesn’t Change Away’s Plans
Both Korey and Haselden noted that it was never Korey’s intention to leave the business altogether. Prior to the story’s release, Haselden had been recruited to join Away as President, with plans to be elevated to CEO after a transition period and take the company public. In the wake of the Verge story’s publication, Korey planned to become Executive Chairwoman while Haselden took the CEO title earlier than planned.
However, it quickly became clear that this reactive plan wasn’t being clearly understood inside or outside the company, according to Korey. She noted that she has “a very external-facing role working with new vendors, working with new partners, recruiting new candidates,” and changing her title to Executive Chairwoman would make it look like they were being contacted by a board member, not an employee.