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Otrium names first female chief executive

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Zuhairah Washington, chief executive officer of Otrium Credits: Otrium

Otrium, the digital fashion outlet tackling excess inventory, has appointed Zuhairah Washington as the brand’s first female chief executive officer.

Washington joined the company in 2021 as president and chief operating officer, and as CEO, she will be driving international growth and overseeing all aspects of Otrium’s global operations, including product, engineering, sales, marketing, logistics, expansion, legal, finance, and people functions.

In a statement, Otrium said that under her leadership, she will focus on “charting a path to profitability in Europe and further scaling growth in the US”. In 2022, Otrium’s US members grew at a speed of 500 percent and the company wants to drive membership and add fashion partners.

Commenting on her appointment, Washington said: “I feel extremely fortunate to lead a company that provides consumers of all socioeconomic backgrounds with access to the world’s top premium fashion brands at affordable price points in pursuit of a larger mission - ensuring that all clothing that is produced is worn.

“As one of the few African American female CEOs in tech leading a global fashion marketplace, I’m especially proud that we are building the next phase of Otrium with an executive leadership team that is 40 percent women, of which 100 percent are women of colour.”

Otrium names Zuhairah Washington as CEO and appoints co-founder Max Klijnstra as chief sustainability and growth officer

In addition, Otrium also confirmed that co-founder Max Klijnstra has been appointed to serve as the company’s new chief sustainability and growth officer. The move aligns with the platform's business growth and will see Klijnstra pushing forward Otrium’s marketing strategy and sustainability goals, as it looks to further embed its mission to contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry.

Klijnstra said: “Globally, an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste is created each year and ends up in landfills. Otrium was founded to help reverse this trend. We envision a future where every piece of clothing produced is worn.

“As Otrium’s business grows, we will continue to help decrease the number of garments ending up in landfills. I want to keep personally driving this type of change forward for Otrium and for the industry.”

While co-founder Milan Daniels will continue to scale and foster the platform’s global brand partnerships, which currently include Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan New York, Filippa K, and Scotch & Soda.

Daniels added: "Max taking on the role of chief sustainability and growth officer will enable us to bring these topics more into focus across the entire business. Combined with Zuhairah – who is an exceptional leader, one that shares mine and Max’s ambitions for Otrium – taking the role of CEO, and each of us assuming our dedicated roles, the executive team has never been better placed to make Otrium one of the world’s leading end-to-end outlet fashion platforms.”

Otrium has a global community of 5 million members and serves more than 20 markets across Europe and the US from three logistics hubs in the UK, Netherlands, and the US. Its mission is to eliminate fashion waste and maximise recovery value for unsold items by empowering consumers to choose conscious options beyond trends and seasons from more than 400 brands.