NEW YORK, April 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Away, the global travel lifestyle brand, today announced that Jen Rubio has been appointed CEO, effective immediately. Following an executive search, the Board of Directors identified Rubio as the ideal leader to advance the business into its next critical phase. Rubio, who co-founded Away in 2015 and has previously served as President and Chief Brand Officer, has been serving in the CEO role on an interim basis since the February departure of Stuart Haselden.
During Rubio’s tenure as interim CEO, as well as in her previous role as President, she artfully navigated the challenges of the pandemic, well-positioning the company to capitalize on the imminent return to travel. The company’s Board of Directors recognized Rubio’s strong leadership amid industry turmoil, the advantages of maintaining continuity across the business, and her unique ability to be an ongoing steward of the company’s long-term vision.
“The past year has been a difficult one for nearly every industry, but especially so for retail and travel businesses. The Away team has demonstrated an acute ability to remain resonant among our consumers while delivering resilient financial performance,” said Jen Rubio, co-founder and CEO, Away. “As the industry is redefined in a post-pandemic era, I’m eager to lead Away in shaping modern travel by removing frictions and transforming the travel experience for everyone.”
Away successfully capitalized on early recovery indicators and heightened customer demand, achieving impressive sales performance in recent months. During this rebound, Rubio oversaw a company-wide strategic planning initiative, resulting in long-term investments across physical and digital infrastructure, opportunities for product category expansion, as well as a refreshed brand strategy, which refocused the company’s mission, vision, and core values.
To further bolster the Away executive team, Rubio hired Laura Willensky as the brand’s first-ever Chief Commercial Officer. Willensky brings extensive retail experience with billion-dollar brands, including Talbots, J.Crew, and Victoria’s Secret Beauty, to her new role leading Away’s e-commerce, merchandising, retail, customer experience, and international teams.
“‘I’ve deeply admired Away for many years and am thrilled to now work alongside this impressive team as we capitalize on, and help steer, recovery in both travel and retail sectors,” said Willensky.
“Laura’s depth of experience and industry expertise across e-commerce, merchandising, and retail strategy will be crucial for the journey ahead as the floodgates of travel re-open,” added Rubio. “Her addition to Away’s leadership team will enable the company’s continued expansion, and we couldn’t be more excited to see her impact on our business.”
Willensky rounds out an impressive C-Suite of tenured Away executives: Selena Kalvaria, Chief Marketing Officer, Cuan Hanly, Chief Design Officer, and Lydia Cheuk, General Counsel, as well as Catherine Dunleavy, Chief Financial Officer, and Candan Erenguc, Chief Supply Chain Officer and SVP of Operations, who both joined the company in the past year.
Away is a global lifestyle brand with a mission to transform travel through products and content that inspire people to get away more. The company launched in 2016 with one perfectly designed carry-on and has since expanded to offer an array of luggage and travel essentials built for the modern traveler. Headquartered in New York City, with teams in London and Toronto, Away currently ships products to over 35 countries around the world. Away has been named one of Fast Company’s “World’s Most Innovative Companies” and has been recognized on TIME’s list of “Best Inventions.” To learn more, visit awaytravel.com.
Hillary Karsten Layton
Director, Communications & Corporate Affairs