Stitch Fix’s CEO Steps Down After Rough Year

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Katrina Lake (landscape)

Outgoing Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake. Image courtesy of Stitch Fix

After growing Stitch Fix from an idea to a viable business with around 4 million clients across the US and UK, founder Katrina Lake announced she would step down as CEO in August 2021. In her place, Elizabeth Spaulding will lead the e-commerce clothing business as its chief executive.

However, Spaulding isn’t done with her creation as she will stay on as Executive Chairperson. In this role, she will focus on the company’s social impact efforts and continue to find and facilitate brand and merchandising partnerships. She will also retain a close connection with the company’s leadership to ensure it hires top-level talent.

In an email to employees, Lake said, “I will still be, first and foremost, in service to you all and the company. I have always embraced the idea that every year my role has changed. From helping get Fixes out the door to leading us through an IPO, I’ve had to modulate my roles and responsibilities every year to make sure I’m serving the company most impactfully, and this is no different.”

Stitch Fix

Spaulding first joined Stitch Fix in January 2020 and currently serves as the retail fashion company’s President. Prior to Stitch Fix, Stanford University graduate was Global Head and Founder of the Digital Practice at Bain & Company, where she was a Partner and member of the Board of Directors.

According to Lake’s email, the succession plan had “been in the works for some time.” She also stated, “I am deeply confident in the future ahead for us — I can’t imagine anyone else taking our company forward with such energy, passion, and optimism, and I am so excited for Elizabeth to step into the CEO role and for us to be partners in this next chapter.”

Spaulding steps up to lead Stitch Fix after a year of turmoil in which it laid off 1,400 stylists, accounting for approximately 18% of its workforce at the time. The company has also faced recent issues with shipping delays and lower customer spending, with clients spending 7% less than they did a year ago.

"The opportunity that we have ahead of us at Stitch Fix is extraordinary, and grounded in Katrina's vision and last 10 years of building personalization at scale," Spaulding said in a press release. "We are creating experiences that will change the way people shop for generations to come. Given the seismic shift of apparel moving online, Stitch Fix is incredibly well positioned to become one of the most innovative and most transformative companies in the world. And, we can do it all with a deep commitment to bringing joy, inspiration and convenience to all of our clients around the world."

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