The RealReal Founder and CEO Julie Wainwright Steps Down

The RealReal founder Julie Wainwright is stepping down from her role as CEO, chairperson, and member of the board after 11 years.

According to a release on Tuesday, the resale company’s board will retain an executive search firm to commence a comprehensive search process to identify a new CEO. Wainwright will serve in an advisory role as the founder through the end of 2022.

In the meantime, Rati Sahi Levesque, The RealReal’s president and COO, and Robert Julian, the company’s CFO, will serve as co-interim CEOs, effective immediately.

“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,” said Wainwright in a statement. “The RealReal continues to make progress on its path to profitability, and I feel now is the right time for the next generation of leadership to guide the company through its next chapter.”

“I am incredibly thankful for everyone who has worked tirelessly to support our journey, and I have deep trust in Rati, Robert and the rest of our management team to execute on Vision 2025,” Wainwright added.

Wainwright founded The RealReal, Inc. in March 2011 and has served as CEO and the chairperson of the board of directors since March 2011. Previously, Wainwright served as CEO of SmartNow.com, president and CEO of Bellamax, interim CEO of OntheFrontier, and CEO of Pets.com.

“On behalf of the entire board, I want to thank Julie for her leadership and commitment to The RealReal,” Rob Krolik, lead independent director, said in a statement. “Julie is a true visionary and pioneer whose passion for sustainable retail and deep e-commerce expertise helped transform the luxury resale market and create the broader circular economy for the benefit of consumers across the country.”

“Rati and Robert bring complementary skillsets that together create a powerful combination of operational, financial and industry expertise,” Krolik continued. “Rati has been with the company since its founding and has worked side-by-side with Julie to grow the business from the ground up, creating our merchandising strategy, encouraging our sustainability efforts, and managing our operations. A valuable member of senior management since he joined The RealReal, Robert’s perspective and leadership have been instrumental in navigating challenges during the last year. They are exceptionally well suited to serve as co-interim CEOs while the search for a permanent CEO replacement is underway.”

Levesque has been with the company since 2012, working her way up from chief merchant to COO, before being named the company’s president last year. Along with Levesque, Julian will bring more than 30 years of financial management experience to his new seat in the C-suite. He became chief financial officer of The RealReal in 2021. Prior to joining the company, he served in various leadership positions at Sportsman’s Warehouse, Deluxe Entertainment Services and Callaway Golf and Lydall, among others.

This news comes as The RealReal posted a net loss of $57 million in May for the first quarter of 2022 despite posting a revenue jump of 48% in the period. On the company’s quarterly earnings call last month, Wainwright said that while continued inflationary pressures on transportation costs and attracting and retaining operation talent are near-term concerns, The RealReal is well positioned for growth due to the nature of our current economy. “As inflation has ramped up and prices have increased in the primary luxury market, we believe the RealReal is a demonstrated value option, offering unique and highly coveted items within the luxury goods space,” Wainwright said.

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