Tyler Haney speaks out about her exit from Outdoor Voices
Following her sudden departure from the sportswear brand once hailed as a start-up darling, Tyler Haney, the founder and former CEO of Outdoor Voices has spoken out about the “gender and generational differences” that led to her exit via an Instagram post.
“At OV, my playbook was different than what had been done before and this was intentional,” explained 31-year-old Haney, who founded Outdoor Voices in 2012 after completing a business program at the Parsons School of Design.
“I believed in zigging when others zagged and we built a beautiful, strong #doingthings community with a powerful mindset that moves people by doing so. This approach was uncomfortable for some especially those who had done it one way for a long time and I understand and appreciate that,” she continued, alluding to disagreements at the company prior to her departure.
Haney further claimed that she is unable to tell the full story of her experience at Outdoor Voices “because of documents I was required to sign when being removed from my position at OV while on maternity leave,” going on to highlight what she described as “an unsettling trend lately to interview ex-employees of female-founded companies and report their claims either at face value or without any context,” seemingly in reference to recently published articles in which Outside Voices employees spoke of an abusive culture of fear at the company.
The announcement of Haney’s departure from the brand at the end of February certainly came after months of tension between the CEO, other executives at the company and former board chairman Mickey Drexler.
Formerly the CEO of J.Crew, Drexler became chairman of Outdoor Voice’s board in 2017, a role in which he was expected to draw on his wide-ranging experience in the retail sector to help scale the company.
However, the retail veteran’s approach quickly entered into conflict with the young, female-led start-up’s philosophy and particularly with the vision of its CEO. Drexler stepped down as chairman in 2019 but continues to serve on the company’s board.
Other experienced executives brought in to help drive Outside Voices’ growth did not last long at the company. For example, Nike alum Pat Catlett, who was hired as the brand’s president last year, left the company after just five months.
In June 2019, an anonymous e-mail supposedly written by 14 Outside Voices employees was sent to a number of the company’s executives, as well as to its board, criticizing Haney’s management and highlighting the exodus of senior executives from the brand as “a huge red flag.”
Reports suggest that the company’s financial situation is also far from ideal, a fact that caused further tensions as its financial strategy was put into question. According to a prospectus cited by The New York Times, Outdoor Voices almost doubled its sales in 2018, achieving revenues of $38 million, but posted an adjusted loss of $19 million due to heavy spending.
Haney concluded her Instagram post saying that she is looking forward to future projects and will be “forever a fan of OV.”
In the wake of Haney’s departure, Outdoor Voices has called in InterLuxe president Cliff Moskowitz to serve as interim CEO.
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