Katrina Lake, the Founder and CEO of online personal styling service Stitch Fix, who was the youngest woman to take a company public in 2017 (she was succeeded by Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd), will become the company’s Executive Chair.
Stitch Fix President Elizabeth Spaulding, who joined the company in January 2020, will take over Lake’s role, becoming the company’s second-ever CEO starting on 1 August. Spaulding was Global Head and Founder of the Digital Practice at Bain & Company, where she was a partner and served on the Board of Directors.
“In founding Stitch Fix, I was inspired by a very human problem, to help people look and feel their best by finding clothes they love. Ten years into this journey, I’m even more inspired by this simple mission, proud of the way we’ve delivered against it, and incredibly optimistic about our future,” Lake said in email shared with the company’s employees. “The impact Elizabeth has already had, combined with the compelling future vision she’s mapped out and is leading us toward, make this the right time for a leadership transition that will usher in the next generation for Stitch Fix, for our business, our people and our clients.
“This succession has been in the works for some time, and while change can be hard, I also believe in its transformational power. I am deeply confident in the future ahead for us – I can’t imagine anyone else taking our company forward with such energy, passion and optimism, and I am so excited for Elizabeth to step into the CEO role and for us to be partners in this next chapter. We are lucky to have a very experienced leadership team working alongside Elizabeth as she takes this role.”
Stitch Fix stock fell five per cent in after-hours trading following the announcement. When Lake took the company public, its shares debuted on the Nasdaq at US$16.90 in 2017 and stood at US$49.49 at the close of the market on Tuesday, with a market value of US$5.26 billion.
Lake started Stitch Fix in 2011 when she was a student at Harvard Business School. Since taking the company public, she has grown Stitch Fix into an industry leading business with an annual revenue of US$1.7 billion, serving nearly four million clients across the US and UK, employing 8,000 people and shipping thousands of personalised items of apparel every day.
Stitch Fit, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, California, was originally only for women, but it has subsequently expanded to men’s clothing, plus sizes, maternity wear and children’s wear. The company has expanded beyond its personal styling and subscription-based model to make sales. Customers can now buy individual items, including suggestions based on prior purchases or recommended to complete an outfit.