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Emily Weiss is no longer the CEO of Glossier

The brand founder announces her resignation and hints at future plans for the company

Emily Weiss is no longer the CEO of Glossier The brand founder announces her resignation and hints at future plans for the company

After eight years at the helm of the company, Emily Weiss is stepping down as CEO of Glossier. The news was announced by herself on Instagram via a post addressed to the Glossier community and a long letter published on the brand's blog in which she explains the reasons for her decision and introduces the new CEO, Kyle Leahy. She uses her first words to explain the importance of keeping the roles of founder and CEO separate:

"I've had the privilege of not just being Glossier's founder since 2014, but also its CEO — two roles that have brought me into communion with tens, hundreds, millions of the most inspiring people inside our company and around the world. At the same time, I've always thought of these titles as unique from one another: A founder is a forever identity, one that starts with a kernel of an idea and never ends. I will always be Glossier's founder. But a CEO is the champion that a company looks to, to lead it into tomorrow. From my observation, the greatest companies in the world understand this distinction and make sure that the CEO seat is always filled with the right person to take it where it needs to go for its brightest next chapter."

Weiss, who was able to turn an online magazine into a beauty empire with annual sales of 1.8 million in 2020 by focusing on a "skin first, makeup second" philosophy, eye-catching, strictly millennial pink packaging, and a direct-to-consumer strategy, will remain involved in the company as executive chairman. After emphasizing that she will continue "working closely with Kyle and our board on stewarding Glossier into 2025, 2030 and beyond," she said:

"With this CEO evolution, I'll be able to focus more of my time as I did in the earlier days — supporting our brilliant leaders of creative, brand, product, and retail, as they take our customer experience innovation to new heights."

The news of the change at the top in favor of Kyle Leahy, who joined Glossier in 2021 as Chief Commercial Officer and previously had both built Nike's omnichannel market strategy and led digital innovation at American Express, is an attempt to respond to a period of crisis for the brand. Despite rapid growth in its early days, the company has struggled to stay relevant and keep up with its many competitors in recent years, experiencing a drop in sales after the pandemic and its first real failure with the closure of the Glossier Play glitter make-up line. Then, in 2020, the brand was engulfed by accusations of internal racism and mistreatment of workers that led it to publicly apologize and dented its image, credibility and popularity in one fell swoop. Finally, after laying off about a third of its workforce last January, Glossier tried to endear itself to the Gen Z audience by appointing Olivia Rodrigo as its first celebrity spokesperson. These solutions proved so ineffective that both a new strategy and new leadership were necessary.

What will be the future of Glossier? 

"We had long discussions about the evolution of our company strategy, anchored in our shared understanding that distribution channels change, history is cyclical, but iconic brands and products are forever."

Weiss said. The first step in Glossier's new era is the reopening of the New York flagship store in 2023, but the most exciting news for fans of the brand is that Leahy intends to use wholesale partners to grow the company, thus making its products more accessible.