Ms. Korey had already recruited Mr. Haselden to the company to become its chief operating officer, with the promise that, after a transition period, he would be elevated to chief executive to help take the company public. When the plan changed after the Verge article was published, she said she would become executive chairman and Mr. Haselden the chief executive. But behind the scenes, she said, she expected both of them to operate pretty much in their original roles, just with different titles. Ms. Korey’s co-founder, Jen Rubio, will remain president and chief brand officer.
“I honestly thought that people didn’t care that much about the inner workings of Away,” she said, “Who is C.E.O. and who is executive chairman — that wasn’t something that, at a private company that’s less than four years old that sells travel products, I just didn’t think would be news and people would care.”
But, she said, it quickly became clear that her plan to remain at Away — effectively in the same role but with a new title — was not understood inside or outside the company.
“The way it became perceived it was like I stepped down and like I left the company,” she said. “I have a very external-facing role working with new vendors, working with new partners, recruiting new candidates. And without a change, it looks like they have a board director reaching out to them who doesn’t work at the company.”
Mr. Haselden said in a telephone interview that the article didn’t paint Ms. Korey as the person he knew and said her original decision to step aside “was very selfless in trying to defuse the firestorm of social media.”
“But it just created a misconception that she was exiting the business, which was never the intent,” he added. Making them both co-chief executive, he said, “will clarify how we intended to operate from the beginning.” Ms. Korey said she still planned to eventually step aside after a transition period and Mr. Haselden will become the sole chief executive.
Whether the article reflected an accurate picture of the company — The Verge has since published several updates, clarifications and corrections — it is hard to judge if Ms. Korey herself has changed.