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Glossier founder Emily Weiss steps down from CEO role

Lauretta Roberts
25 May 2022

Emily Weiss is stepping down as CEO of the disruptive beauty business, Glossier, she founded eight years ago. Weiss is about to go on maternity leave and when she returns she will take on the role of executive chair handing the CEO reins to Kyle Leahy.

Leahy joined Glossier at the end of last year as chief commercial officer, having formerly held senior roles at Nike and Cole Haan, and will take over as CEO immediately.

In media interviews Weiss said she had been considering her position for some time and had decided she wanted to step back from the day-to-day running of the business in favour of heading up the board and remaining involved in decision-making on product, marketing and retail.

The move comes after the business admitted to having made some strategic errors at the start of the year, which led to it having to make around 80 redundancies, mostly from its technology team. The company said it had over-hired and spent too much time focused on its technology platform and would now be working with outsourced partners rather than dedicated so much resource to developing proprietary technology.

It has since shifted its focus back to running the beauty business and will be investing to meet demand for e-commerce, expanding its wholesale business and opening more stores.

In January of this year it opened an experiential flagship store in London Covent Garden on the back of a successful pop-up it had held nearby. The new store followed the securing of $80 million in investment last year to fuel its international expansion and its return to physical retail. It had previously closed its retail stores and laid off its retail staff at the height of the pandemic. In addition to London, stores were also opened in Los Angeles and Seattle.

Founded by Weiss in 2014, Glossier spearheaded the movement for direct to consumer (DTC) in beauty and social media-driven selling. Weiss, who had previously run her blog Into The Gloss, became known globally as one of beauty's most high-profile entrepreneurs. The business is also known for developing products based on customer feedback and requests and has said its move into physical retail was prompted by demand from its customers.

Glossier Chief Marketing Officer Ali Weiss, no relation to the founder, will also leave her position in July.

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