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The RealReal founder Julie Wainwright steps down as CEO and chair

By Huw Hughes

Jun 8, 2022

Management

Image: The RealReal

Luxury resale platform The RealReal has announced its founder Julie Wainwright has decided to step down from her role as CEO and chair after 11 years at the company’s helm.

She said in a statement: “I am deeply proud of the company we have built and am honored to have worked with a team that champions our founding vision of creating a more sustainable future for fashion.”

Wainwright founded The RealReal in 2011 from her home in San Francisco. The company, which found itself at the forefront of the burgeoning second-hand fashion industry in recent years, went public in 2019.

Road back to profitability

But the company has faced challenges recently. Last year, it reported a widening net loss of 236 million dollars, up from 176 million dollars a year earlier.

In May, it posted a first-quarter loss of 57 million dollars, compared to a loss of 56 million dollars in the prior year period. That was despite a 48 percent increase in revenue to 147 million dollars.

But Wainwright said Tuesday that The RealReal “continues to make progress on its path to profitability” and she feels it is “the right time for the next generation of leadership to guide the company through its next chapter”.

President and chief operating officer Rati Sahi Levesque, along with chief financial officer Robert Julian, will step in as co-interim chief executive officers while a search for a permanent chief executive takes place.

Outgoing chief Wainwright will stay at the company in an advisory role until the end of 2022 to “ensure a seamless transition”.

Today, The RealReal has more than 27 million members, with 19 retail locations worldwide.

The RealReal