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Away announces three new executive hires to support next stage of growth

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: courtesy of Away

Direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand Away has announced three new executive hires to bolster its leadership team ahead of significant growth plans.

Away said in a statement that Charles Liu, Melissa Weiss, and Luke Chatelain join as chief operating officer, chief marketing officer, and chief digital officer, respectively, amid what they call a “critical phase of growth” as the travel industry continues to rebound from the impact of Covid-19.

Charles Liu joins as Away’s first chief operating officer to lead the luggage company’s end-to-end supply chain and business technology teams as it makes significant investments in business infrastructure and enters its next phase of growth. He was most recently chief operating officer at Casper and has previously held leadership roles at Walmart, Shopko, and Walgreens.

Joining Liu is Melissa Weiss as Away’s newly appointed chief marketing officer, who will oversee brand marketing, growth marketing, creative, and communications functions. Away also added that Weiss, who was head of marketing of Lyft’s Micromobility division will have a strategic focus on building brand affinity while driving revenue performance. Weiss also held jobs at Barry’s Bootcamp, Theory and Amazon Fashion.

Luggage company Away bolsters leadership team ahead of “significant growth” plans

The third appointment is Luke Chatelain as Away’s first chief digital officer. Chatelain will oversee the digital product, UX, and insights teams to define the future of Away’s customer-centric omnichannel commerce experience to ensure the brand’s ability to “pioneer new solutions while remaining deeply connected to the business and the customer”. Previously, Chatelain drove digital transformation as vice president, innovation and digital product at West Elm, and most recently, as chief digital officer of J. Crew.

The appointments Away added will “underscore” the brand’s continued resurgence in the wake of the pandemic, which brought travel to a halt and enable the business to transition into a growth position.

Commenting on the appointments, Jen Rubio, chief executive at Away, said in a statement: “This is an incredibly exciting time at Away. After an extraordinarily challenging period for the travel industry, we have been capitalising on growing customer demand and seeing significant gains across all categories.

“As we prepare for our next stage of growth and a critical year ahead, we are thrilled to welcome Charles, Melissa, and Luke to our leadership team. These talented and accomplished leaders bring an impressive depth of experience and diverse expertise to Away. I’m eager to see how their leadership will help drive operational excellence, foster innovation, deepen our community engagement, and unlock Away’s unbounded future.”

Away has described 2021 as “the year of recovery,” and has expanded its product assortment, including launching collaborations with Serena Williams and fashion designer Sandy Liang, as well as establishing partnerships with renowned brands ranging from Marriott to KITH.

Liu, Weiss, and Chatelain add to Away’s leadership team that includes Catherine Dunleavy as chief financial officer, Laura Willensky as chief commercial officer, Cuan Hanly as chief design officer, Lydia Cheuk as general counsel and Katie Coviello, as vice president of people and culture.